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Shopping At Target (2009)

Lines at the Target store, filled with products, anything and everything anyone could ever want or need. All needs are provided for, all desires fulfilled—we no longer have any variance in the economic system. In the future all economies will be the same, serving the purpose of making the all-comforting technocapitalist machine smaller and more efficient, less noticeable as all products become more altruistic—30% recycled! All organic and fair trade! Some proceeds go to benefit breast cancer awareness! In line, with my batteries and aluminum-free deodorant, I smile at the lady in front of and behind me, and they don’t return my glance. As the bearded guy at the register opens the clear magnetic chamber box that seals the DVDs, I can’t help but think of homo habilis—fiddling with tools, trying things, attemping.

“What if a thief had one of those keys?” I asked the bearded man.

“More power to him.” He doesn’t skip a beat. “Swipe your card,” he demands. I do. “You sure have a lot of ways you can pay,” I say, making conversation. He lowers his eyes conspiratorially. “Yeah…” he shakes his head and grimaces, “Wish we just took cash.”

“Yeah, the good old days…”

“Yeah…the good…” he mutters, his glasses sliding down the nose. “I wish we could just…you know…get back to bartering…”

“No economy, no jobs…”

“A sense of community…no more stupid uniforms” he says, toying with the lapel of his bright red shirt.

“Trading…we could trade all of our old junk in rather than sending it to the landfill.”

“We could trade…” he says

“I wouldn’t have to give you a plastic card” I say, delighted

“No money” he says

“No money” I repeat. He puts my products in a plastic bag. I stare into his bird-like eyes. “No bag for me, thanks” I pull them out of the plastic, “you save this for the next person,” I smile, satisfied with myself for reducing my carbon footprint, for my non-participation.

“Some people like the bags…” he says, crestfallen, “When it’s raining…”

“Have a good day, Sir” I say, and I mean it.

“You take care!” he commands. Another conspiratorial glance, seems to say We could burn this whole thing down. The automatic doors open soundlessly, releasing me back into suburban pseudo-nature, the rain and mist.



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