Economical Shopping

That pretty much says it all right there. I intend to tell you about a fun little excursion I had in the VM, (Village Market-the local healthy alternative to Walmart, for any non-Southernites who might have happened upon this post) but since I'm a history major, let's take a little excursion of our own to determine the full meaning of my title.
Economical: This comes from the Greek οικονομία, which means 'house law' or household management. [wiktionary.com] This sounds strange, but to the Greeks, economy just happened as a part of everyday life. Families bought and sold at the marketplace, fished, farmed, or otherwise made a living, traded with the merchants, paid taxes, etc. οικονομία wasn't separate from what they did every day, it was integrated into nearly every facet of life.
Interestingly enough, as you all know, economy has come to mean something completely different today. The world runs on the financial interactions between various, complex national economies. I happen to find the study of Economy a fascinating one, in part because it's like looking at the framework of a house; you can see the underlying structure for current events. But it also reveals a lot about how people work.
Shopping: A dreadful but necessary activity in modern life whereby we exchange money for things we think will make us happier than the money did. [Personal Experience] I personally dislike this activity very much. Oddly enough, I can hike for hours before my feet hurt as much as they do after only 30 minutes of shopping.

So, now that we have our definitions clear, I shall proceed with the story. Ivan and I woke up one Sunday morning feeling rather hungry. This is a daily dilemma, unfortunately, and today we decided to go to the VM to do something about it. Little did we know that shopping was about to AMBUSH us! We wandered around dazedly trying to choose something to eat out of the plethora of edible options. Suddenly we spied a little cart loaded with Silk soymilk. Wondering what was so special about this cart that it required bright green signs on it, we investigated further. Amazingly, this soymilk was on SALE! For only $0.99 a box we could be the new owners of our very own carton of soy goodness! (or two or five or ten) We hurriedly availed ourselves of this unexpected opportunity. (Silk soymilk is normally about $3 a carton) This put us in a deal-finding mood and we rushed around the rest of the store procuring in a relatively rapid fashion certain other opportunities that presented themselves, rather forgetting how trying this activity usually was. Suddenly though, as we were competing with several other ladies for the few remaining boxes of soymilk (we graciously let them have the vanilla and we settled for chocolate), we ran out of shopping steam. "My feet hurt," we said simultaneously*. Back in our room we reviewed our purchases: tomato sauce, pasta, jelly, bread, $13 worth of granola (the most expensive thing we bought, but well worth it!), and a total of 19 cartons of Silk Soymilk. (Never fear, it's supposed to last for up to a year on the shelf:) So, what did I learn from this experience? When taking care of your household (or dorm room); practicing οικονομία, the travails of shopping can be somewhat alleviated by feeling like you're saving money. My recommendation? If you have to shop, make sure you get some good deals and wear comfortable shoes!

*I think this might have happened, but if not, it should have.


As promised: Unique Uniformity*

*Barry has a way with alliterations and when I was discussing with him my tentative next blog topic, he neatly coined it "Unique Uniformity." So, I'm crediting him with the fancy title. :)

"Ooh look Mom! A Bratz doll just like all my friends have. Please can I have it? Pleeease?"
"Hey, that sweater looks great; it's so you. Where'd you get it?" "Yeah, I wanted something unique. I got it at AE on sale for only $45!"

A picture of George and Laura Bush in front of their Christmas tree with the infamous red dress
(CBS) Every woman who's ever attended a formal party has had the same concern: What if someone else shows up in the same dress?
As CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports, that's exactly what happened to first lady Laura Bush at Sunday's Kennedy Center Honors, always one of Washington's biggest nights for stars, and glamorous fashion.
With guests in the spotlight at the exclusive White House receptions that go with the ceremony, the designer gowns are always scrutinized.
And on Sunday, four women at the reception wore the exact same $8,500 Oscar de la Renta dress, Mrs. Bush among them.

As you can probably tell by now, the concept of everybody wanting to be different in the same way, or the same in different ways is what I would like to focus on this time. Why is it, that when presented with a two alternatives, one of which is popular and sort of generic but still perfectly usable, and another which is not very utilitarian but it's different (and probably more expensive), we frequently choose the latter? Why is it that society is always pursuing fashion but never quite getting there; that whatever is hot today is not tomorrow?

A Hummer and a Prius To climb the mountain via a different route, explain this to me. Why is there an almost infinite variety of automobiles, but we're satisfied with only four or five different kinds of web browsers? They all do basically the same thing, so why don't we just pick the best four or five options and get rid of all the rest? Think of the money that would be saved!

One very obvious difference between web browsers and cars is that other people can see what kind of car you're driving. Is that it? Does our desire to be different stem from our desire to be noticed and approved of by others? I know most people say that they chose their specific 'whatever' because they like 'it', but how much of our approval of 'it' is shaped by society's approval?

Now let me attempt to weave this thread in with my original idea. The toys and clothes and cars that are in style are fashionable because it's what everybody else likes, or if you're lucky, what everybody else is just starting to like. But I think God's original intent was that each person showcase their unique personality just for Him, without regard to what others thought. If (1) God is the ultimate Personality and the original Creator and (2) humans were created in His image, then we are expressly creative and singularly individual beings.

Satan realized that if humans went about life without regard for anyone's approval, as we looked at all the beautiful expressions of individual personalities, we would see the imprint of the Divine shining through. So of course he had to invent a substitute. "We can't have you looking to God for approval!" he sneers. "Here, I give you human gods. Wear what they wear, buy what they buy, worry about what they think." And so as we started looking downward and inward instead of upward, we lost our sense of what was truly fashionable and unique.



I'm Afraid a Wee Bit of Intertemporal Discounting is Required...

Hey guys, sorry it's been such a long time, school (mainly the associated schoolwork) keeps on rearing it's persistent snout. Fear not however, because I have been storing up interesting topics to blog about when I have more time. Here's a sneak preview: unique uniformity, Scalia's dissenting opinion in McCreary v. American Civil Liberties Union, embroidery, and perhaps the joys of economical shopping. :) Don't they sound like tasty topics? But anyway, I'm afraid that just now, when I've succeeded in activating your mental salivary glands, I'm going to force you to develop your skills in intertemporal discounting (a favorite virtue of mine, otherwise known as delayed self-gratification). So, until a more opportune time,