I don’t care much for shopping even though I love clothes, jewelery, food,… It is the act of shopping that gets to me. The way shops and supermarkets are made; when walking five times more than necessary in maze-like isles to get to what I want, I feel like crying out to the “intelligent” minds behind the design, “what are you taking me for?” I never do, but I do not visit department stores unless I absolutely have to. I try to limit my shopping to a few small shops that I know; there are not many of those around of course. As a result, I shop less and less.
I remember walking in meandering alleys of Yazd when a van parked in the middle of a square. The driver got off, opened the back of the car, and started displaying his goods. Before I could turn my head around, people were by his car examining the fabrics, negotiating the prices, etc. I could not believe it. Not that it was unknown to me. No, I have hundreds of childhood memories of this old-style salesmanship where people brought their goods (fruits, vegetables, fabric, plastic objects, you name it) right to their customers at their doorsteps. But I had not seen it in so many years. It was a delightful experience; I stood there and watched them for a while and took a photo. And I wondered what drew me to this experience, simple human interaction? Perhaps.
In the last twenty years or so, I have been to department stores and supermarkets where I have to chase sales people to ask a question. That is, if I spot one. And recently, there are hardly any people in the supermarkets. You check your goods out yourself and pay a machine. I remember a story I read in my childhood about a man who wakes up one day and finds himself all alone on earth. Does anyone know that story?