Consumer purgatory

2005/02/02 at 16:22

The author of Body and Soul expresses my feelings exactly:

Every time I go to Best Buy I resolve never to return. I can’t think straight with a wall of big screen TVs flashing a dozen identical football games at me, while hip hop hits me from the left, and Merle Haggard twangs me from the right. I know that doesn’t bother everybody, but I have this old-fashioned attachment to my brain cells, and I miss them when they go away.
I walked in the front door just as a voice was repeating over a microphone, “Home theater, turn down your volume. Home theater, please turn down your volume.”
If they did, I didn’t notice the difference. My knees go all jellyish and I almost start to cry under the impact of the noise. I would leave if I didn’t need to get a particular, repeatedly (subtly, but repeatedly) requested electronic birthday present before Friday, and if there were any place else in town — any quieter place — to get it.
So I’m stuck in Hell. Or Purgatory anyway, since as soon as I perform my appointed task — please, God, let me find it quickly — I can leave.
I sometimes think the atmosphere in Best Buy serves an effective commercial purpose. I can’t think in that atmosphere. I just want to grab whatever I see that vaguely resembles what I’m looking for, at whatever price they want to charge — really, I’ll pay extra, just let me out of here — and run.
Call me cynical, but I suspect encouraging mindless acquisition is not to the store’s disadvantage.