The Supermarket today plays the same role the Church did the past – it’s the focal point of our lives.
Once upon a time people had the urge to pray, today we just call it buying. Almost every purchase today is a prayer. At the moment you reach out for a Diet Coke, your subconsciousness is already on its knees, wishing and hoping. It may seem hard to believe but you, the modern human being, are even easier to manipulate than any believer in Hell from the Dark Ages. You’re a victim of the same old cycle of desire and fulfillment, but in contrast to the Dark Ages person, you’re not aware of it. That’s because the Supermarket managed to find a way to control you with much more sophisticated tools.
When you enter the Supermarket nobody hands you a holy scripture demanding from you to comply with its commandments. This creates the illusion of choice. What you are being offered is a catalog of prayers. You take a bottle of shampoo, you pray for beauty. Add a box of low fat milk and there’s a prayer for weight loss. And those are only the obvious ones. As complicated as our minds are, there is always an unfulfilled desire lurking in the dark, waiting for its chance for instant gratification. Finally, there’s no authority to administer punishments, only endless forgiveness. Nobody will forbid you from having chocolate just because you gained a few pounds. You may personally consider this a sin but for the Supermarket, it’s just another opportunity.
Logically, the role of the confessional is fulfilled by the counter. Your shopping list is one of the most intimate things you can share with the world. It says a lot about you, your way of life, your ambitions, even your intelligence. And it’s all there, in the Supermarket’s database.
Sounds ridiculous? Maybe from a personal point of view. But the Supermarket is not interested in you as a person, hence looking at it from an individual perspective doesn’t make sense. It’s the old-style Church that addressed you as Mister Somebody. Today, you’re simply a bill. A sheet of numbers representing product codes, prices, date of purchase and financial details. This is all the Supermarket needs. It will throw this data in its vaults, mix it with the others and let all kinds of marketing spiders analyze it, so their webs become even stickier.
The only way you can escape is to stop behaving like an insect.