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Retail: "Where Idiots Go To Die"

Why is it that EVERYONE I know who works in the retail industry has such a self-deceived view of what they do? Its not uncommon for me to hear people who work at Abercrombie and Fitch and the like call themselves "brand-reps", "models" or "greeters." Am I the only one who finds this absurd?

Let me be honest.1.) Wearing clothing that you buy at a discount rate because your manager (who himself will work retail for the rest of his life) encourages you to do so does NOT make you a model. I could be WAY off base here, but typically clothing designers pay models to wear their clothes, not they other way around. Neither does it make you a "brand-rep", no matter what the regional coordinator says. This is the same guy who has convinced you to work for a pittance and then to further the sickening pattern, makes you think you are a "model" so that you will give all of that money back to buy clothing that will be out of style in 6 months, necessitating a new wardrobe bought from whatever new brand the corporate gurus have come up with this time (Abercrombie ---> Hollister. Its the same thing morons.), thus perpetuation the cycle of bottom-feedery.
2.) You are a cashier. You fold clothes. You take hard-earned middle class income and feed the beast of consumerism that is taking over this country (I act as if there is still a battle to be fought...America lost the battle to itself a long, long time ago. Case in Point: Paris Hilton, the E! Channel, MTV, Fall Out Boy, Norah Jones/Joss Stone/James Blunt - new "folk" music, MySpace, thefacebook, Kanye West, Laguna Beach, Jimmy Fallon...etc...). On a purely evolutionary/developmental level, you serve no function. You neither aid nor abet any modern institution or socio-economic group. Culturally/socially and existentially however, you serve a purpose. You are a cog in a giant machine that will one day kill us all. I'm no hippie, but look at this country. The Gwinnett county's of the world will eventually be our downfall. Not AIDS, not nuclear proliferation, not poverty, not world hunger (the most sickening dichotomy is that a lot of you retail monkeys paid money to wear those white "ONE" bracelets, since your LIVESTRONG bracelets are no longer cool...*barf*), not racism/sexism/ageism. No, none of that is the real issue. Home Depot will kill us. Pre-planned neighborhoods will kill us. People who are empty and bored and thus decide to have children will kill us (I could literally go on and on, but I won't. So we will "weather" our jeans and "distress" our khaki's until we are all dead.

Now here's the weirdest part:

People who work at these places actually think they are better than I am. Which is not to say that they aren't, I mean who knows, maybe this really is just all one big cosmic joke and I should just join in on all the hilarity and quit being such a realistic buzz-kill.) But when I walk into these stores to try and find a pair of jeans, I walk by people who are in the act of folding clothes that future 15 yr-old sluts will wear and perceive condescention coming from them, the ol' "I may only make $6.50 an hour and receive intellectual stimulation comparable to watching an episode of The View, but SHOOT do I look good while doing it. PEACE! I'm gonna go spread my genetic material to as many people as is humanly possible for someone in factory-torn jeans!" So your saying "D.H., not everyone has a blog! Heck, between classes at (insert community college name here) and work at Hollister I don't even have time to build useful computer skills! How can you sit on your intellectual and moral high horse and talk down to me? I'm just trying to make a buck, and look good doing it! And what have YOU done for the world lately? I don't see you voting for Al Gore or driving a hybrid!! Pssssh, I'm gonna go spray myself with Fierce until I can't feel my skin!"

This is what I am doing: I am not feeding this nations massive addiction to buying stuff all the time. I'm not even going to argue with you. With D.H. Bathon, the problem may not be getting better, but its sure not getting worse. You need cash? Go walk a dog, work at a restaurant, rob a Walmart, WHATEVER. And what useful skill could you possibly be learning by decorating mannequins at Banana Republic and hooking up with the chick who works at Orange Julius. I try to learn, all the time. I read books about the geopolitical instability in the Middle East, string theory, post-modern christian orthodoxy, globalization/convergence, irish literature, psychology of survival (Deep Survival byLaurence Gonzales...READ IT). Now, does all this make me a better person then you? Heck-no. Why, it just might have been your God-given gift to look good in tight clothing made by Ecuadorian school-children, this might be how you bring joy the world. But does it mean I am trying harder? Heck yes!

I'm not as smug as I'm allowing myself to come off in this post. A lot, no, a TON of my good, close personal friends work retail. They are all bright, caring, intelligent people who are just poor college kids. But gosh, singling out individuals is sure nice and all, but it sure does seem like theres a bigger thing going on here? I mean, and this may be a huge stretch, even for me, but there had to have been some German citizens who were saying to themselves "now wait a second, theres something amiss with this national socialism thing!" but no one spoke up, they just went along for the ride. The funny thing is that no one expected it to happen like that. No one saw the Holocaust coming. A conflict that was largely over economic concerns in its basest form eventually evolved into on the darkest periods of human existence, permanently marring our own view of ourselves and our capacity as a "generally good" people (the Holocaust only being one of the larger of these many marks on our track record over the last 200 years...but thats a whole 'nother post.).

Here's my point: All my friends who work retail are Nazis.

Ha! Just kidding. But seriously my point is that no one really seems to be sounding the alarm here. We all just seem to be sitting around trying to "get by" while another overpass gets built, another strip mall goes up, another chain restaurant breaks sales records, another reality TV show gets produced, another "birth of boredom" happens, another Britney Spears album gets bought by a 14 yr-old girl, another spring break in Cancun...etc...and no one really seems to notice how weird this country is getting. I mean, how much homogeneity can we take? Isn't it weird that I can get "Moe's Authentic Mexican Cuisine" in LA, Seattle, Boston and Atlanta? Really. Think about it. Stop reading and really think about that. Its weird. You can say its been happening for years and that I should calm down about it, but really, just stop and think about it and you start to feel a little creeped out. Like what your doing here maybe really isn't that important or cool after all.

I've had this feeling for about two years now. I don't know where the feeling started. I don't know how it started. I can't take credit for it, and again, it doesn't make me a better person. I have more character flaws than most people, I will be the first to admit that. But come on. Wake up. Something weird is going here. Something really weird. I don't even know if post like this gets us anywhere, I may be a huge part of the problem instead of a part of the solution, a thinker but not an acter (not actor). If so, point the glock at my head and two in my dome* and get on changin' the world.

A final thought, and I don't care how tasteless you think it is, and I don't care how hypocritical I must seem (or maybe I just AM hypocritical...either way I want you to think about it.)

People live and die while this guy pops his collar and takes pictures of himself and thinks "I look good."
G'Night.


*please don't actually do this.
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