Shopping Should Be Outlawed

By Bernie Bates

Shopping is like any other ruthless, repulsive, destructive habit. And furthermore, I think it should be regulated and policed. Anyone caught with more than they need in their shopping carts should face the fact that they may be a shop-o-holic!

As you may have already surmised – I’m the poor husband of an admitted binge shopper. My misfortunate wife can’t pass up a deal, no more than an alcoholic can say no to a swig of mouthwash. A sign that proclaims fifty percent off – may just as well read: FREE MONEY!

Much to my wife’s dismay; here’s a story that I like to tell to other husbands about my wife’s need for speed in the aisle-ways and buy-ways of stores everywhere. I’ll probably be in the doghouse for this story; but what the hell, it just may help another person with their addiction.

It was many moons ago in a mall far, far away. The legend goes that there was this mighty shopper who could hunt down and slash the best prices. She could smell a deal from across the food court. Store owners clambered for her attention with sales, discounts and bargain bins. She was the reason they created the sacred day of: Dollar forty-nine day, Tuesday.

I’m only kidding her of course. But the truth is every Saturday without fail my lady love would head to the local shopping center. Then one weekend she felt a little under the weather and decided not to hit the tills for her thrills – that’s when the phone rang.

“Can you get that?”, she called to me. “Hello”, I said, then the other person stuttered, “Oh, ah; excuse me, wrong number.” Then they hung up … but I didn’t.

Holding the dead phone I pretended to listen intently; followed by the occasional, “yes, yes, I got it.” And with every passing second my wife’s curiosity grew and grew. “Who is it? Who’s on the phone?” I finally said, “yes I’ll tell her.” “What?” Tell me what?, she exclaimed. And with a serious look on my face I told her: “It’s Wal-mart, they’re wondering where the hell you’re at.” Now I know I’m going to catch it from every woman who reads between these lines. But most men just don’t get the exhilaration women seem to get from shopping, browsing and wondering aimlessly for hours at a time. I know for myself, I could walk into a store and pick up a loaf of bread, pay for it, drive home and toast it before most women could even get their shopping cart into the bakery isle.

As a younger man I used to travel a lot and I don’t even have a t-shirt that says: been thar. But a woman will go to some exotic place with majestic breath taking, one of a kind scenery and where do you think they’ll wind up?

On the twenty-forth day of December I like to go to the malls just to watch men scramble from one counter to another. They’ll grab something look at it and you can tell that they’re trying to match it with someone who’s on they’re list. A complete look of panic, stress and exasperation is written all over their faces – it’s like watching a fuse burning down to the moment just before it enters the bomb!

As much as I dislike the chore of shopping; I like clean new clothes, enjoy fresh food and appreciate pillowy softness in the bathroom. And as I look around my home I realize how lucky I am to have a shopper-spouse. In these tough economic times every dollar counts. And just like the food chain in the wild kingdom; shoppers are an essential link in the evolution of business. If a product doesn’t sell, the company goes out of business, and the employees will lose their jobs. If they don’t have a job they can’t afford to shop and so goes the wheel of fortune.

Alcoholics can attend AA meetings, drug users have rehabilitation centers even crazy people have safe padded institutes. If a man gets too drunk in a bar they’ll tell him that he’s had enough to drink, and then they’ll ask him to leave. So why isn’t there a shop-therapist or burly buying-bouncer at every mall?