Richard Ryan

I shop. I watch TV. I read advertisements that we receive in the mail. I’m a true American consumer. I even shop at a large Big Box Store. There’s a giant sign that hovers over it, at least in our imaginations, “Consume more, never less.” I enter that store for maybe two items: chocolate chip cookies and some snacks, and I leave it a hundred dollars or more lighter.

How do I allow my pocket to be so easily picked? It’s because this Big Box Store is a kind of Disneyland for shoppers. Need a flashlight? How about three, batteries included? I need two at the most, but it’s a good deal, or so I rationalize. A worker who is stocking this particular shelf assures me it is a good deal. This is known as positive re-enforcement. We get to talking. A guy can never have too many flashlights. We contemplate this simple truth. And our dear wives can never have too many (you fill in the blank): little black dresses, pairs of shoes, purses….

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