Deadbeat Shoppers

Deadbeat Shoppers!

Feb. 28, 2005                   Cheapskates Blowing It For Corporations

Domrzalski

“The money you make isn’t yours; it belongs to the government and to corporations and their wealthy CEOs. Government takes your money through taxes, and now we’re taking it by mandating that you buy things.”

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Dennis Domrzalski (Dom-zal-ski) is one of the funniest and most entertaining columnists and authors writing today. He rants against stupidity, hypocrisy, mediocrity and conformity with a flair, blue-collar bluntness and hilarity that no one can match. And his targets, whether they’re corrupted bureaucrats, blowhard, talentless newspaper editors, or dim-witted celebrities hate him because he makes them look like the losers they really are.

The Chicago native has been a newspaper reporter and columnist for 23 years. His new comic novel, I Got Stinky Feet, is an insanely funny attack on everything that is phony, pretentious and politically correct in America.

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He was kicking and screaming as the two beefy security guards were dragging him to the front of the store.

“Another despicable shoplifter,” I said to myself. “Probably stealing deodorant.”

Or DVDs or socks or blinds or tires or paint thinner, as we were in one of those gigantic super stores that sell everything from motor oil to cheap underwear.

The guards were being just a little rough with him and, shocked and outraged by their behavior, I yelled in protest:

“I don’t care how poor this deadbeat is. He needs a good head cracking. Stop coddling him. Crack his ribs, put him in a chokehold and bust his thumbs. The hell with his civil liberties. Where’s a cop or John Ashcroft when you need them?

“His thievery is cutting into profits of the corporation that owns this store. The company has enough sinister behavior to deal with; its greed-obsessed employees are demanding health insurance, a wage that keeps them off food stamps, and that they be paid for all the hours they work. The spoiled brats know little of and care nothing for the dignity that comes from working long hours at low wages. The selfish wage earners are devoid of concern for the anguish and trauma that rich, Wall Street investors suffer when the company’s stock price falls by an eighth of a cent and wrecks their profit-taking plans. If he can’t afford stuff, he should get a second job.”

“But I have three jobs and I still can’t satisfy them,” the guy, who had heard me talking to myself, wailed as they dragged him past. “You don’t understand. I haven’t shoplifted.”

Then he shot me the saddest, most bewildered and frightened look I’d ever seen and said:

“I just bought what I needed. Nothing more.”

“Just what I needed,” one of the security guards sneered contemptuously as he handed the guy over to a waiting cop. “If everyone shopped like you this corporation would be ruined. Drag his butt down to the lockup and keep it there.”

“What is he being charged with?” I asked.

“Failure to unnecessarily and recklessly consume,” a cop yelled.

“That’s a crime?” I asked.

“It is now in America.”

“On what grounds are you charging him? What’s your evidence?”

The cops and the guards walked me to where they had confronted the guy. In the middle of the 300-yard-long aisle was a lone shopping cart where the store manager was angrily taking an inventory of its contents.

“Look at this; it’s not even half-full,” the manager said with disgust. “He’s got bar soap, laundry detergent, bread, milk, lunch meat, a pair of socks, razor blades, and, get this, jars for home canning! He was going to can his own food at home instead of buying it! That’s sick.

“Look at this cart. It contains not one electronic organizer or phone book, not one bread machine, espresso machine, salad shooter, food processor; not a single pasta machine, individual wine cooler, pancake maker, plasma TV, video game, hamburger patty maker, hotdog cooker, battery-powered corkscrew, smoothie machine, deep fryer, individual egg cooker, pasta pot, convection oven, computer controlled toaster, water purifier, juicer, crepe pan, ice cream maker, soft ice cream dispenser, vegetable steamer, sectioned frying pan, bagel slicer, high-powered blender, individual blender, rotisserie, coffee bean grinder, electric toothbrush, nuclear-powered hair dryer; not one portable abdomen toner, bicep builder, butt reducer or thigh enhancer; not one treadmill, stair stepper, home gym; not a single sonar fish-finder; not one digital camera or home photo-printing machine, not a single cell phone on which he can get stock quotes and play solitaire, not nothing!

“And look those razor blades! Double-edged blades! He’s still using an old fashioned razor. He hasn’t upgraded in forty years. We’ve now got battery-powered razors with fourteen blades, seven strips of skin-soothing gel, a small screen on which you can read email, a head that vibrates, rotates – hell, this thing will even mow the lawn. And it only costs seventy-nine bucks.

“It’s not just his weak shopping that concerns us. We checked his credit report. He’s got two credit cards – not seven he should have – that he pays off monthly. He doesn’t run a balance. This man has refused to max out his two measly credit cards.

“This man is not only a disgrace; he’s a traitor!”

“Maybe he doesn’t need all that stuff,” I offered meekly and with a changed attitude.

Need! It’s not a question of need. It’s a question of supporting the global economy and making investors rich,” the manager stammered. “If we all bought what we merely needed this economy would collapse.”

“They don’t consume like this in Europe,” I said.

“Of course they don’t. And they don’t work seventy hour weeks like we do so we can buy all this stuff. That’s why they all get six weeks paid vacation, good pensions, all kinds of holidays and government paid for health care. Is that what you want?

“Americans are the world’s consumers of last resort. We’re born and bred to shop, spend money and get into massive debt. That’s who and what we are: shoppers and debtors.  The money you make isn’t yours; it belongs to the government and to corporations and their wealthy CEOs. Government takes your money through taxes, and now we’re taking it by mandating that you buy things.”

“Well, you can make pancakes and crepes in a regular frying pan. A lot of the stuff we buy isn’t needed.”

“Tell that to the guy who invented the individual hotdog cooker, his investors and the people who run this corporation!” the manager screamed. “What are you going to buy here today!”

“Nothing. I don’t need anything. I—”

“You what?”

“I don’t need anything.”

“Traitor!”

I was clubbed, cuffed and thrown into the squad car with the other guy and taken off to jail.

Then I woke up, sweaty and terrified.

“It was just a dream,” I told myself. “That can’t happen. Not in America.”

But I wasn’t so sure.

©Copyright 2005 by Dennis Domrzalski. All rights reserved.