Opinion: Retail therapy

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Most retailers are in a celebratory mood as we move into the new year. Sales were strong, buoyed by a consumer will to spend more than usual. Packages, parcels and boxes filled our homes. Gifts wrapped to delight and build anticipation have been opened and enjoyed. Paper, ribbons and bows swiftly moved from treasured to trashed. The dutiful garbage collectors have retrieved our overflowing containers, already processing the waste in furnace or landfill. 

So, what do we have for it all? Our wardrobes are a bit more full. Perhaps our personal style is a bit more updated. Some presents come imbued with inspiration. Could we wear that garment? How does our loved one see us? But, if we are luckiest of all, we come to feel loved. The small token indicates that another cares for us. They took of their own time in an attempt to contribute to ours. Someone listened to us, noted our unrequited hopes and endeavored to serve them. Isn’t this the very best of human action? 

So, in an age when so many once-common needs are met and our lives are already filled to overflowing with stuff, is retail therapy serving its functional purpose? Is a trip, dinner or experience an appropriate substitute for a filled stocking? If so, do we invite ourselves along? Are we giving or instituting a burden? Is love best stored in a talisman or a memory? 

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