If there ever was any question that I live in a Third World country that pretends to be a Hyper-Developed Nation, I saw the proof last weekend at my local Costco and Sam’s. I made the mistake of going to these mega stores on a Saturday afternoon, and both were packed to all hell with crazed shoppers, eager to get their hands on super-sized shit they don’t need.
But what got me was the feeding frenzy at the end of the aisles, where store employees were cooking up free samples.
You know the expression “Live every week like its Shark Week?” My friends, these people were living it in the most literal sense possible. Hoards of overweight, government-subsidized shoppers were practically jumping over each other to score a free sample of Veggie patties/pulled pork/gouda cheese/strawberry yogurt, etc. They resembled frenzied sharks or piranhas going in for the kill, with the smell of blood deep in their noses, crystallized eyes and drool oozing from the corner of their mouths, death in their sights.
And here’s the kicker: when the poor sample girl ran out of whatever she was peddling (a microwave can only cook so many spinach tortellini at the same time!), these people shouted insults at her, angry and blaming her for their unsatisfied hunger. As she prepared the next batch, mini riots would break out near the sample station as shoppers fought each other off to position themselves for the next serving.
As I walked around trying to avoid these death traps, I realized that the stores weren’t packed because people were shopping; they were packed because thousands of people were jamming up the aisles waiting to be fed. The attitude among them was not one of curious shoppers discovering something new, but that of desperate consumers demanding to feast on what is rightfully theirs. The gall of these people!
Since when is gorging on free samples a consumer right? When did it become acceptable behavior to send your kid to the sample station to snatch up goodies for everyone in the family? Do you really expect to walk out of the store with breakfast, lunch, and dinner under your belt?
Jeez, this is what happens when a society is given everything they need, and more, without having to work for it – they suddenly feel that they deserve it all.