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America Needs Shoppers

Successfully choosing a pair of shoes can often be as miraculous as an act of God

For those who know me -- even people who know me only through the pages of Crescent Blues -- it will come as no surprise to learn that I consider myself a material girl. To quote the even older Berry Gordy/Janie Bradford song: "Money don't get everything, it's true. What it don't get, I can't use."

But the reason I want "Money" has more to do with acquisition than possession. The lure of the hunt stirs something primal in my soul -- the stealthy ferreting out of bargains, the daring daylight (or Blue Light®) raids on unsuspecting floor samples, the dominance games over the sales tables. (Long canines give you a definite advantage here but never underestimate the power of the not-so-silent snarl.)

For 11 months of the year, these predatory instincts serve me well. But in this time of the rolling year, I hide my natural tendencies under gold foil wrapping and red velvet bows. Fortunately, it drives people well and truly crazy when you tell them you want world peace for the holidays. (Hey, I never claimed to be a saint.)

Ironically, the one holiday season when I wouldn't mind a healthy helping of peace and prosperity, the times demand I devote my talents to a higher purpose. This year, America needs my greed -- and yours, my material girl- and boyfriends. Those of us with money in our pockets owe it to our nation to hit the stores and the catalogues, the Web sites and the phones.

If we don't get the economy moving again, who will? Most of the economic recovery packages currently before Congress focus on short-term cash infusions for big business owners. They offer nothing for the people who work for them -- or those put out of work by recent events. Local sales clerks depend on commissions, not Congress. On-line crafts people live by direct sales. Not to mention the folks who grow and prepare and transport the food we eat. All these folks could use a helping hand.

You don't need to keep the stuff you buy. In fact you probably shouldn't. You don't want some well-meaning friend confusing patriotism with a social disease. Any prolonged treatment or counseling sessions would throw a serious kink in your schedule, and we must adhere to a rigorous timetable in order to achieve the necessary forward momentum for an economic lift-off.

Instead, lavish your considerations on your family, or check with your local Salvation Army, women's shelters and other community organizations to see who needs what. Trust me, you'll get just as much thrill from filling someone else's wish list as scoring on your own.

And don't forget to reward yourself along the way. The service and entertainment industries need bolstering too. Not to mention the boutiques who sell formal wear, and shoe stores. Most especially, we can't forget shoe stores…

You think I'm joking? Nevermind.

The staff at Crescent Blues joins me in wishing you and yours the very best of the holiday season. However you choose to celebrate, may the shortest days of the year gladden your hearts. May the winter sun warm your face with the promise of spring, and on earth, peace to all of good will.

Jean Marie Ward

In addition to editing Crescent Blues, Jean Marie Ward writes for a number of Web-based publications. Her interview with Farscape's Virginia Hey appears in the October issue of SciFi Weekly.

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