If you’ve been over the last decade or so at least somewhat sentient, say for about five minutes a month, you’ve heard someone spout this nonsense: “People don’t buy things, they buy experiences.”
If I had a chainsaw, a good lawyer and a hope of impunity, I might chop into little bite-sized human pieces the next person I hear who issues such a proclamation.
Just as nothing today in government seems to work—from our voting system, to our tax system, to our legislative system, nothing in the state of retail, restaurants or service seems to work either.
As you may or may not know, my wife and I have bought a small cottage not thirty feet from the sea in the quaint-as-fuck bucolic village of Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Roughly four-hundred years ago, some gun-bearing ruffians from England by way of Massachusetts, decimated the local Pequot population and set in motion the concomitant rise in real estate prices, replacing indigenous long-houses with clapboard homes each of which houses a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Wolf stove and a Miele dishwasher. Not to mention a few hundred thousand dollars of debt.
My wife and I moved into our new domicile on Saturday morning and of course, nothing works and you can get no help. For whatever reason, the fattest nation in the history of the planet determined that garage doors must only be openable with the press of a button. Actually getting out of your car and lifting a door is beneath us. Of course, our garage door opener doesn’t work, so I can’t open the garage door.
Undaunted, I break down and pile up corrugated boxes and place them on a small strip of grass near my neighbor’s garbage bins. This I’m told is an Cardinal exurban sin—something on the order of pederasty or washing your dishes by hand. Though we pay thousands of dollars a year in taxes, the trash-collectors won’t pick up trash that isn’t in a bin. It’s just not done.
So, I load up my 1966 Simca 1500 with the boxes and drive to the house we are still renting and use our rental garbage bins. I sweat like a pig a week before a luau.
Buying all the shit in those boxes, of course was another experience. It’s virtually impossible today to NOT shop at a big box store or, worse, Amazon. So, for a vacuum and a microwave, I had gone to Best Buy. There is no help. There is no service. There is no selection. There is no accurate pricing. There is nothing best about it—and so much psychic discouragement, I’m surprised people buy at all. Death-bed, Bath and Beyond was not much better. Little things like replacement bottles for a Soda Stream are all but unattainable—and finding a “salesperson” who cares is even scarcer.
Our next stop was CostCo, more accurately it would be named AccostCo. I am not a wisp of a man and never have been. I am thick-headed, thick-boned and like an old coastal skow, broad of beam. In AccostCo, I feel like a sallow French model who’s ingested nothing but cigarette smoke, cocaine and two sips of champagne for the last six weeks. Why anyone would need to buy 1080 Q-tips at a time, or a gallon of Hellman’s mayonnaise, or two-hundred AA batteries is beyond me. But the waddling masses pile in and merrily take home nine-dozen eggs, two-pairs of dress pants and a brand new trailer for their boat all from one gigantic warehouse situated on what used to be a swamp situated on what used to be an Indian trail situated between a Chili’s and an Olive Garden and a Golden Corral like 94% of our clouded hills, our Jerusalem among these dark Satanic Mills, all closed now and shipped to Southeast Asia—even darker and more Satanic.
Worse was still to come: Internet service and setting up cable TV. And dealing with extortionate monopolies that name tax-payer-funded sporting arenas after cable companies everyone hates.
Forget about “experiences” there. It’s Mengeleicious. Torturous, cruel, mocking. They make a nazi dentist look like Florence Henderson.
What I wouldn’t give for an RCA TV with a proper dial: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13. That’s it. Something not screaming at me on each station. And maybe a bit of news that contains actual news, not some blathering about a one-armed lady in Upper Lower Lompoc who sews masks for people without noses.
Yeah, I’m in a crappy mood.
Yeah, I’m in a crappy mood.
The “experiences” I’m purportedly so eager to buy make me wish I were part of the clean-up crew on the set of The Exorcist. And the things—when you can find them—are cheap, plastic and made to last about as long as a pubic hair in a drain.
I’ve been out of the city four months now.
I need a fatty corned beef sandwich, some aggressiveness that isn’t passive, a Checker cab and a good one-liner.
As long as that one-liner isn’t about experiences being greater than things.