If working retail has taught me one thing, it has taught me that we are, without a doubt, hardcore consumers. The most common phrases I hear, at both jobs:
Can I have
Can I get
I’m looking for
Plus, of course, all the complaints, the “no I don’t like this, give me something different,” and the relentless asking for discounts. Being a retail employee is all about catering to the customer’s every need and desire — feeding their consumerism?! — while at the same time meeting the employer’s high demands for excellency and lots of sales.
Maybe it’s my personality, my desire to work hard and give it all I’ve got, but for me, it’s super easy to get sucked down into this endless whirlwind of people-pleasing. Please the bosses. Please the customers. Give them what they want. Keep that happy face on. Sell sell sell. It gets exhausting, and then suddenly I find myself in that I-hate-people-and-don’t-want-to-talk-to-any-of-them-for-a-long-time mindset. Oops. Not a good mindset for a Christian to have, I guess. Good thing I have tomorrow off to “renew my mind” (Romans 12:2), right?!
Anyway, this got me thinking a little this afternoon about consumerism and the self-centered nature of humanity. Really, it’s draining. It’s all about I want this and I need that, and we’re all prone to it. This fall I read Jen Hatmaker’s book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and it pretty much blew my mind. It’s all about how we can strive to be less consumers of and more contributors to the world we live in. Jen put this into practice by committing to spend money at only seven different stores for a month, to give away seven things every day for a month, etc. It’s about intentional practices like this, but it’s also about an attitude. Jen writes: