I wrote this poem four years ago, in 2017. I never dreamed how drastically my habits as a consumer would change in a single year, but Covid-19 has utterly destroyed the joy I used to take in spending. Not just in shopping, but in so much more—dining out in restaurants, going to movies, and most of all, listening to live music in venues large and small. On the positive side, I’ve saved lots of money and pared down the balance on my credit card.
Twelve Ways of Looking at Christmas Consumption
Black Friday follows hard upon Thanksgiving
But I ignore it, lying in bed, pigging out
On apple-cranberry pie untouched the day before.
All that sugar and Crisco puts me in a stupor,
But I don’t care—my bathroom scale is broken anyway.
Saturday, revitalized, I venture forth
To do my patriotic duty for our bloated economy
And spend, spend, spend,
Patronizing struggling entrepreneurs
On River Street in Troy. Today’s Small Business Saturday,
A day invented by American Express.
I haven’t had an Amex card in years.
Never again, I vowed, after I maxed mine out,
But MasterCard works just as well
For building up my burgeoning debt once more.
Now what should I buy my family?
We’ve all got everything we need,
And shopping for my daughter and older grandchild
Is boring since they both want basic black.
I find depressing and funereal.
The younger grandchild is a girly girl,
And fun to shop with. She knows her grandma’s
A pushover, easily manipulated into spending more
Than I know I should. But thankfully,
We both love Target, and the gold chip
On my blood-red credit card
Makes everything so easy.
As for me, the clothes I’ve got
Will last me till my dying day,
Assuming I don’t grow morbidly obese
And need a whole new wardrobe sized
In the dreaded double and triple X’s.
I take pride in my artsy taste
That never dates and lasts for decades,
Like the peachy pink Liz Claiborne
Knit ensemble I wore in the early 90’s
To interview for a job I didn’t get.
My hoarded clothes and shoes and handbags,
Clutter my little pink house.
Along with books, old magazines and paper,
They threaten my senior equilibrium,
Endanger my treasured independence,
And still I shop for more.
In these simplistic, allergenic times,
Fragrance is frowned upon, if not forbidden,
So that rules out those sumptuous boxed sets
Of perfumes, creams and lotions
That used to sit forlornly on my dresser.
I don’t crave jewelry, much less kitchen gizmos,
So every year, I tell my husband I want techie stuff.
A turntable for my old jazz vinyls, a photo scanner
So I can organize my memories and capture them in scrapbooks.
But every year I chicken out and let them languish
Unopened in their boxes. The corrugated cardboard cartons
Make perfect scratching posts. My tabby cat Lunesta
Claws gashes, shredding the cardboard,
Putting the unopened presents to good use.
Today is Cyber Monday. I always thought
That just meant techie stuff, but now I’ve learned
It’s anything I order on the Internet.
More clothes, more books, more everything
My greedy heart desires. Maybe the garden fountain
I never got around to buying last summer.
In this amazing digital age, the sky’s the limit.
Far be it from me to be old-fashioned.
Besides, I haven’t maxed out my MasterCard.
How has the Covid epidemic affected your habits as a consumer? Do you miss the malls and stores, the thrill of the hunt and the endorphin rush when you happen upon the perfect treasure? Can online shopping bring you the same joy? Are you content, or maybe even happy, with a simpler, more pared down lifestyle? I’d love to hear from you!
Speaking of shopping, how about buying some books—specifically mine? All three of my suspense novels are available online from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. They’d make excellent presents for you and anyone else on your gift list. As Dr, Fauci warns, we’re in for a long, dark and deadly winter. Hope is on the horizon, but the vaccine is still months away. Meanwhile my novels are guaranteed to spirit you away to a world without Covid.
Coming soon, in time for holiday giving: quality Giclee prints of my paintings. Subscribe to my blog for the latest updates!