Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

God’s Free Gift

January 27, 2008

A couple of years ago, on my way to the supermarket one Sunday, I was walking along East Broadway and passed a church.  There was a man standing just inside the church’s property line facing a couple of young girls, who were probably about twelve or thirteen years old, standing on the sidewalk just outside the property line.  As I approached, I heard one of the girls say something like, “So, if we come in, do we get to keep the presents?”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Had the religious really stooped to such new lows?  Luring unaccompanied children – without parental consent – into their churches with presents?  I glanced at the man.  Incredibly, HE shot ME a dirty look.  I guess I offended him by catching him doing what he must have known was wrong.  If he didn’t know it was wrong, he would have carried on nonchalantly and wouldn’t have noticed me passing.  Couldn’t he hear his own conscience?

Imagine there wasn’t a church behind the man.  You see a man offering young girls presents to come inside.  What would you think?  Utterly abhorrent, predatory behaviour.  For some reason, religions get away with things we would otherwise find offensive, or even criminal.

Although this was the first time I’d ever seen such blatant and crass religious marketing, I later found out it was by no means an isolated incident.  A Korean student told me last summer that it’s common in Korea.  Christian churches routinely offer children presents to come in and join a mass.  Korea and Asia are ‘growth markets’ for Christianity.  Make no mistake, they’re in the god ‘business’.

Looking back, the guy standing just inside the property reminds me of the legal fine line the girls standing in the doorways of the ‘hostess’ bars in London’s Soho district tread.  Now there’s a comparison to be proud of!

I feel a little ashamed that I didn’t do anything about this guy.  I wish I’d called a cop.  But, being the nice, tolerant Canadian that I am, I didn’t.  We have to respect religion, after all.

Why?

Advertisements

A Valentine’s Day Reminder – Already

January 18, 2008

There it was, on my monitor.  A pretty picture of red, pink, and white hearts on my ISP’s home page, accompanied by a headline link telling me to “Plan early” for Valentine’s Day.  And Valentine’s Day was still four weeks away.

The Christmas season has barely gone.  It was not so long ago that there were pine needles on the floor of common areas in my building.  The garbage and recycling bins are still overflowing with the detritus of collective merriment.  And, now, we are being called upon to start planning to spend again.

We seem to move from one commercial holiday season to the next, each one telling us to spend, spend, spend.  Our calendar is marked by these shopping points.  We pace our year around them.  Our society is geared towards them.  They are the individual legs of our annual migration.  The ads for the seasonal sales are signposts counting down the miles to the next rest stop.  Retail rules.

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know I’m not one to remind people of the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.  You know – the story of an alleged baby born in a stable in Bethlehem, the city of David, when his parents were supposedly going to the city of their birth for a census there is no record of, conveniently matching the prophecy of the first testament.  But, stories of the increasing commercialization of Christmas are not exaggerated.  The shopping season starts much earlier than it used to.

The same is now true for Valentine’s Day and all the other events or holidays.  No sooner does one holiday or long weekend pass than we are reminded of the next.  I can’t recall a four week runup to the day of romance in the past – ever.  It will be followed by the Easter season, followed by the Victoria Day/Memorial Day long weekend, Canada Day/Independence Day, the August Civic Holiday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas again.  All perfect opportunities to shop.  The retailers’ calendar has become our calendar.  Welcome to the consumer society!

You may not even realize how deeply entrenched this is, but, the fact is, many people can only find time to shop on these long weekends.  They’re too busy in their daily lives for anything but daily necessities like grocery shopping.  If they do have time to shop in between, they probably can’t afford to.  If you can afford to and have the time – congratulations, you’ve made it!