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How to Shop in a Time of Crisis

by BEN TRIPP

According to Gallup, 45% of Americans believe mankind was invented by God 10,000 years ago, 65% believe the jury is still out on evolution in general, and 48% believe that God invented childproof caps to punish old people for how they drive. It’s enough to make a fellow emigrate, just in case stupid is contagious. But here I still am, brimful of good advice, which I will now dispense unless I get really irritated in the next half-hour. There is dangerous talk abroad in the land about boycotting corporations that subsidized the Bush campaign. Lists of companies that gave 90% of their campaign contributions to the Republican cause (90% of companies) are circulating around the Internet like swarms of enraged mayflies. The only real way to avoid spending money on these corporations is to live under a large, flat rock, subsisting on lizards.

Here are my strategies for ‘buying blue’ in a time when the Red Tide no longer means godless communism, but rather the thimble-witted sociopaths out to turn the clock back to 1630­ all 100 million of them.

1. Think queer. Queer means gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, undecided: shop at queer markets. Buy a house through a queer real estate agent (http://www.findagayprofessional.com/, I kid you not), shop for gay products (I don’t mean Francesco Smalto cologne, I mean things produced by openly queer-operated or queer-friendly companies Okay, Francesco Smalto cologne), hire gay people to do things. Even not gay things. You can be pretty sure the queer community is not participating in the Bush bonanza, so do as the bent do, consumer-wise. This is not an endorsement of plushies, by the way. Lord knows where they shop.

2. Ebay. So it’s mostly stolen merchandise, who said life is fair? You can buy anything at all through Ebay, although avoid the unwrapped fish. I now shop only with online auctions, where I can get my ethnic costume (Brooks Brothers) for pennies on the dollar because somebody else wore it to a wedding. And if Brooks Brothers sent money to the Dark Lord, fine: I’m not buying it from them, I’m buying it from some guy in Omaha that got the wrong size. If Ebay sent money to the Republicans, I don’t want to know.

3. Smoke Cuban cigars. Eat them, use them as a marinade. Nobody in Cuba sent money to Bush.

4. French products. See Cuba above. However do not, repeat do not, smoke French cigars. It’s like setting fire to a mummified dachshund. Stick with the wine and cheese. Also Moebius comics. I love that guy. Not in a queer way.

5. Shop obscure, shop local. Go for the one brand of Armenian gasoline, the weird Belgian fruity beer (not meaning queer­ meaning with fruit in it), the hemp underwear, the moose jerky made in the next town. Strange foreign brands and small regional companies reduce your Bush contribution endorsement factor in two ways: first, they don’t donate money to American campaigns because it’s against the law and they don’t care in any case, being Estonian; second, even if the local concern did contribute to Bush, we’re talking peanuts compared to Wal-Mart. They won’t be affecting national policy matters on $75.00.

6. Steal things from Wal-Mart. Now I’m not saying steal things from Wal-Mart, here. Of course not. I’m just saying you can enjoy products from any damn retailer in the entire country, regardless of how much money they contributed to the Great Satan, as long as you didn’t pay for it. I’m not sure how you steal gas from Texaco. Mel Gibson could do it, back when he was Mad Max. Think it through and get back to me, because the Cinquecento is running on fumes. But I have ten cases of Cheetos I found behind a Kmart, if anybody wants to trade.

7. Stop buying things. I mean you have to buy gas, obviously, if only to set yourself on fire in front of the White House. And food, and pants. But consider boycotting just one category of consumables, and then gloat about how you’re not participating fully in the consumer society. For example, decide you’re not going to buy any more sweatshop-produced garments (the money they don’t pay to those nimble-fingered kids goes to Republicans instead). That limits you to knitwear from Scotland. But when people ask you why you’re wearing a kilt, you can tell them all about how some guy told you to drop out of one sector of the economy, and you chose bifurcated legwear. What I’m trying to say is, the less you buy, the less you’re playing the game.

8. Smoke lots of marijuana. Cheeba is not part of the Republican economic machine. Also it will help you avoid vomiting after all those Cuban cigars and moose jerky.

BEN TRIPP can be reached at credel@earthlink.net.

His book, ‘Square In The Nuts’, has been held up at the printers by thugs but will be released as soon as hostage negotiations conclude.

See also www.cafeshops.com/tarantulabros.

 

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