By: Steve Gruber
ClashDaily Guest Contributor
I had a friend tell me recently he doesn’t shop. I said what do you mean you don’t shop? I mean how could that be? After all, we live in America, the greatest shopping venue on earth. He just shrugged and told me again that shopping is not something he does now nor has ever done for that matter. I found this shocking and a bit sad actually. Shopping is one of the great joys in my life. No, I am not talking about going shopping for clothes or looking through the bargain bin. I mean going to the supermarket, where just about anything is possible. It is the big kids’ toy store of steak, chocolate, and wine for Pete’s sake!
First of all how could you be 50 years old and not shop? I understand my friend is a very successful professional and lately has been having some amazing years in his field. He is hustling to make as much money as he can while the sun shines — but I know a few other people like that and guess what? They shop. My friend was a bachelor once too. I guess he never cooked for himself because having beer at home doesn’t count. I work my tail off building the brand and I can tell you I go shopping. Sometimes I go with Ivey and sometimes by myself it really depends on what is going on that day but I like it. In fact, I like it a lot.
I explain all of this because I think my friend is clearly missing out on what I believe is one of the greatest wonders of America and the free world. I decided a long time ago while walking around a supermarket that they are quite possibly the greatest achievement of the Western World. These are the glittering temples of the free market genius of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. These are the shining shrines of consumerism in a land where consuming is king.
I still take time to marvel at the incredible achievement that it took to create a supermarket. I mean think about this for a minute. You can walk into one store and buy everything you need to eat all week, steak, chicken, tofu (if you must). You can pick up dog food, cat litter, paint for the porch, a new camera, a new TV, some towels, get a prescription filled, get a bike for the kid and some hot pastrami for lunch and while you’re doing all of that some stores will even change your oil and rotate your tires.
God, I love this country!
I think my love affair with stores started a long time ago when my mother would take me to the Meijer store near my childhood home. Meijer is a Michigan thing or at least it was until it expanded into a dozen other states. My mom would let me go play in the toy aisle while she wandered around the so-called ‘Thrifty Acres”. When I got a bit older I would spend my time rifling through the posters of Farrah Fawcett and Planet of the Apes. Then my focus shifted to thumbing through the albums like Aerosmith and REO Speedwagon. I bought my first rock album in that store and several more after that. Those places were heaven because you could really dream in there.
I realized way back then walking around these huge shopping arenas that in America, anything was possible. It made me understand how powerful capitalism really is. If you worked hard you could buy anything. And if you were smart enough you could build something for everyone else to buy.
Today my big thrill is the ability to buy even more items and of even higher quality all in one place. I find it an incredible accomplishment to have fresh fruit from all over the country and around the world in the same place with brand-new state of the art smartphones and appliances. It is a testament to the ability to do math. Buyers order the right items and buyers clear the shelves 24 hours a day. It is a beautiful thing. It’s even better when the economy is cruising along the way it is.
We have come a very long way.
When I was growing up there was only one supermarket near my home. Today you can choose from a host of options when it comes to spending your grocery money. Of course, you don’t even have to leave home if you don’t want to and all your things can be delivered to the doorstep but what fun is that?
My friend is missing out on all the new luxuries to be found at the local supermarket like a great cup of coffee or a glass of wine to enjoy while you take in all that is available under just one roof. These are incredible places to embrace the American Dream and American Dreamers.
Steve Gruber is a regionally syndicated talk radio host based in Northern Michigan. Find out more at stevegruber.com.