BIG DEAL NO 3
Shopping has always been an art, a duty, a chore, a pleasure, escape from boredom – even a danger. It started at home and at fairs, with written orders for husbands, children, servants or suppliers to fill. The department stores in the 19th century turned shopping into an event, a spectacle of sorts. As people began to shop more, artists imagined them doing it. At its most powerful, its most seductive, shopping asks us to become complicit in our own desire and opens wide the door on our own fantasy world. It promises, usually for the length of time required to beguile us into purchase, to transform us, to make us thinner, more beautiful, more with it, sexy and generous, more powerful and important, than we truly are. It whispers to us of magic, of dreams, of other selves, indeed, of escape from self. The lighter and darker side of consumer culture is here, presented in many shapes and forms, with all the perils and joys associated with consumer palace, addictive lure of the sales and the institution of a system of credit.