Shopping: Patriotic, or Soul-Killing?

Wouldn't we rather have factories than malls?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2008 4:15 PM CST
A clothes shop gives an exchange rate of a euro for a British pound in the Quays Shopping Centre, Newry, Northern Ireland, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
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(Newser) – These days, it’s patriotic to be a shopaholic. “We neurotically monitor the retailers' latest financial results and our identification with the fortunes of the big stores seems absolute,” writes Andrew Martin of the Guardian. But Martin suspects we’re just waking up to the fundamental absurdity of modern shop-aholic existence: “The logical aim of shopping is surely the removal of the need to go shopping.”

Shopping is supposed to fulfill needs; if we need to shop continuously, “the enterprise is doomed from the start.” Martin would rather see those malls and superstores replaced by factories. “A factory, with its fierce customizations and mysterious leakages of steam, has a mystique and glamour compared to a shop.” It also provides better jobs, a hope for working class boys otherwise doomed to a life of asking, "Can I help you?"