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So getting down to personal policy we can control: Is your shopping car-driven? Where do you shop for occasional items? Where do you not? How often do you buy items that you find are poor quality and have to buy again? How much e-shopping do you do? Comparisons, ideas, improvements, solutions, ...revolutions?
I'm lucky enough not to have to own a car. I used to rent a car once a year or so to stock up on bargains at Ikea and the like, but I'd now rather have all my teeth root-canalled than spend more than fifteen minutes in a car. So I honestly can't remember the last time I was (shudder) in a "mall."
I hardly ever "go shopping," but I still end up shopping for food, toiletries, office and house supplies pretty much every day. There's almost nothing that I can't find -- at a decent price -- within a ten-minute walk from my apartment. And that ten minutes flies by because I get to observe the most fascinating and astounding collection of people (and dogs -- I don't own one but I've come to love observing these amazing creatures, genetically engineered just to love and entertain human beings, and I give thanks every day that I can see so many of them so easily -- and without actually having to feed or clean up after one of them!) on my way to and from the stores. Some people might find it inconvenient that you have to go to four or five small or medium-sized shops to find all the things you'd get "in one stop" in most places, but I love the additional exercise and the extra people-(and dog-) watching, not to mention the chance to be outdoors and appreciate Manhattan's unparalled panoply of street trees (almost 200 different species) and flowering plants. They don't call New York a Natural Wonderland for nothing! ;-)
Another great pleasure: contact with working people from Central America, East Asia, the Middle East and Africa (pretty much in that order in my neighborhood). They give me hope that America may one day, when WASPs are firmly in the minority, become a kinder, more humane country.
I can't think of anything that I buy that is "poor quality and have to buy again," except maybe printers and most Microsoft programs. And I do a lot of e-shopping, especially for books, recordings and big-ticket items like electronics. As for "revolutions," well, all the trends seem to be going the other way, but I think the world would be a much happier place if more people could live in the more civilized big cities.
by Frank Schnittger - May 31
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