Photo by Ananthu Ganesh on Unsplash

Whenever I Go Shopping, I Think I See The Slow Decline of Humanity

What are we doing with all this stuff?

5 min readJun 30, 2021


I had to run an errand at the local Smith’s store last night. I’m always kind of surprised to see what’s at the entrance. They keep a giant table at the entrance and it’s full of chips, sweets, and soda. Bags of chips in a giant disordered pile, as if to signify a great abundance, but zero nutrition. There is another equally disordered bag of sweets next to the pile of chips. The economy-size bottles of soda stand in a neat row around the table.

This is how they choose to greet us at the supermarket. And I know that people are buying tons of that stuff or they wouldn’t set it right there, as the first thing they think we’ll buy.

I needed to find a cold compress for the hand for my wife. She performs a very labor-intensive service at a local nail salon and that has been hard on her hands. So she sent me out to see what I could find. I looked around at Smiths in an aisle near the pharmacy, but I could not find what I was looking for.

I took my phone out to let her know by text. She had already sent me a picture of something she found and suggested that I go to Walmart. So off to Walmart I would go, but not before seeing all kinds of other stuff that I would not ordinarily buy on the way out. You know, on impulse. I knew by the size of the piles of stuff, the shelves of stuff, that someone else would buy it.

At Walmart, I saw pretty much the same thing. Aisles and aisles of stuff that I won’t buy. That I don't want to buy. I did eventually find the cold compress that my wife had asked for. They had only one size, “L/XL”, but I figured it would be better than nothing. And for $20, I had good reason to believe it would help her.

During my travels within Walmart, I saw islands of stuff to buy. Gizmos, sweets, soda, and snacks. Long aisles of frozen food, kitchen gadgets, and tons of plastic everywhere. I was only there for one thing, but all along the way to that one thing, I could see so many products tugging at me, calling to me, in hushed whispers, “…buy…me…” Golem appeared before me. “My precious…buy something your wife ask not for, and I will go away!”