When I was a young child life was much different. If I wanted something, I actually had to go to store and find it. Doesn’t that sound wild? Almost as extreme as having to walk 9-miles to school, in the snow, with the wind blowing in my face both directions while wearing shoes made of Kleenex boxes.
There was no online shopping in the 80’s. So as a 5-years old when I really wanted Teddy Ruxpin for Christmas, my parents had to drive around for hours searching for him. After a whole day of their lives was spent frantically going in and out of Toys R Us’ they finally found my precious talking bear- only to find out that the reason I had wanted him was to see how he worked, and then didn’t give a flying fuck about him anymore.
Okay, that was a dick move on my part. But it wasn’t totally my fault. Teddy Ruxpin looked so seductive in the commercials. Like he was the Charmin bear come to life. Once I realized you just stuck a tape in his ass so he could tell you some asinine story, the novelty quickly wore off. But don’t blame me alone. Blame the marketers! The ad guys! I was not a spoiled little shit!
The Munch lives a pretty sheltered life, I am willing to admit that, but one day I mentioned the concept of buying something online for her. She really wanted foot pajamas like her cousin Calvin, but Target didn’t have any. So I explained I would get the jammas on the computer while she was sleeping. This was a strange concept for The Munch to understand, but once they came in the mail she was pumped.
My issue with online shopping is that there is no effort involved. I mean besides flapping your fingers around on a keyboard. This breeds a disconnect between the thing you think you want, and what you are actually are buying. The idea of material objects is irrationally seductive. Hey computer, I WANT ALL THOSE LEGGINGS!
But when you are actually shopping and holding something in your hand, you have to identify with it more than if it were just on a screen. Of course there are extreme cases of shopaholics where the act of spending and acquiring goods is a rush, but even if you have a semi-normal relationship to consumerism, it can still be corrupted in the ethereal world of the Internet. Not only do I want all those wrap-around dresses, but I WANT THEM TODAY!
I didn’t realize that this concept had been so deeply imprinted into The Munch’s psyche until she was visiting with my mom this weekend. She saw a doll catalogue that my mom (who The Munch calls Manna) had lying around. Why my mom has doll catalogues floating around her house is yet to be determined, but once The Munch found it she was flooded with things that she desperately desired.
Munch: “Manna, I want this doll right here.”
Manna: “Well, there is no store to get that doll right now.”
Munch: “You can get it on the computer.”
Manna: “Oh I can?”
Munch: “Yes go on the computer and you can pay for it.”
Munch: “I wanna see. I wanna see too!”
Manna: “Alright well sit next to me.”
Munch: “I want that baby too!”
Manna: “Munch, you already have that baby.”
Munch: “NO I DON’T!”
Manna: “Yes you do, that is the same as Water Baby, just with a different outfit on.”
Munch: “NO THAT IS A DIFFERENT BABY”
Manna: “Pretty sure I know my babies and that is the same as the one you have.”
Munch: “Can I get that baby then?”
Manna: “Okay but for your birthday.”
Munch: “Can I get the stroller too?”
Manna: “The running stroller?”
Manna: “Okay. Done. The baby and the running stroller on their way.”
Munch: “But I want to have them now.”
Manna: “You can’t have them now they are coming in the mail.”
Munch: “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I WANT TO HAVE THEM NOW!!!!!!!!”
The proceeded to fight about The Munch wanting her toys now and my mom saying she had to wait. So my mom calls me on the phone to fill me in..
Manna: “Your daughter is absolutely insane did you know that?”
Toni: “I did. But why now?”
Manna: “Well she made me order some things for her online, and she was angry that they weren’t here right away. So then she used my phone to have a pretend conversation with you and said ‘Mamma, get me my fucking stroller now!’”
Toni: “Maybe the new family rule should be no more online shopping.”
Manna: “Maybe you should stop swearing around her too.”
Toni: “Maybe I fucking should.”