The Dream: The Compliant, Yet Angry Consumer

Here is a dream so vivid that I had to get out of bed at 4:10 a.m. to write it down:

I’m at an outdoor market with my sister Leslie. Some saleswoman is trying to sell me eyeglasses. I wasn’t really in the market, but I reluctantly try on a pair. It was quite different from what I usually wear, as they were a bit heavier, but they looked nice, and I decide to buy them. As I’m about to have the sale rung up, I see the computer tablet she’s working on. Somehow she has gotten into the editing section of my blog, and has written, “Hey guys, these are my current glasses” with a picture of that. “And these are the glasses I’m thinking about wearing. They are a little bit heavier, but I like them. What do you think?” And there’s a picture of THAT. I say, in a very even tone, “I’m not very happy about that,” pointing to her tablet. Then I make the purchase with some guy as she goes away, but she leaves her tablet on the counter.

I walk behind the counter, get into her tablet, and delete the offending post. Then I take my left hand and, one by one, start throwing can goods (can goods?) down a hill behind the stand, speaking as evenly as I possibly muster. “I don’t think you people understand how upset I am about this invasion of privacy.” Then I take my left arm [I’m right-handed, BTW] and knock over a whole counter’s worth of stuff down that same hill. “THAT is how angry I am. I don’t think you understood. I hope you get it now.”
***
Now that even-tempered rage I’ve seen in me. But why, after I was upset with my privacy being violated – not to mention how this total stranger so quickly hacked into my blog – would I have bought the glasses? Loss of privacy is a constant concern; I’ll share what I like, thank you, which is quite a bit, I think. Trashing the place IS some wish fulfillment from some retail experiences I’ve gone through, such as the time I walked into a particular store on the corner of Washington and Lark in Albany, and was immediately, and without subtlety, being watched as a potential thief. That store is long gone – there’s a Subway there presently – but it really ticked me off at the time.

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10 thoughts on “The Dream: The Compliant, Yet Angry Consumer

  1. Rather straightforward symbolic manifestations of aggravation with both consumer culture and social media privacy concerns I’d say. Gotta love the 21st Century in Corporate America.

  2. Real life experience for me that sort of parallels the question “Why did I buy the glasses?”:

    I was mailing a friend in Alaska cookies for his birthday. My now-husband playfully mentions he’s jealous, so I send him an identical box of cookies, complete with a homemade card.

    Three days later I send him (husband) a letter saying I’m divorcing him. No anger whatsoever, just a fact.

    My female cousin told me that I’m the master of mixed messages. Does this apply at all to you?

  3. I swear it made sense at the time: “Aw, he wants cookies. Okey-dokey, that’s not a hard request!”

    I’d still send him cookies tomorrow if he asked. “Really unhappy but kind of going along with it to make someone happy or to keep them from being sad or upset.”

    Might be true in your dream, too. I notice that people do that unconsciously (although for myself I’m doing it consciously.)

    • This is what has changed for me: it used to do things because I could (“Be on that committee” – I COULD do that, I have the skills to do that. Maybe I OUGHT to do that.) But I would forget whether I WANTED to do that. It’s OK to make the cookies if you wanted to make cookies. And I HAVE made the cookies, so to speak, to make people happy, but not to avoid making them unhappy, which is a different thing for me.

  4. Are you serious? Because I have a “thing” about mailing cookies. Also origami. 🙂 It’s like… a weird habit. 🙂

  5. Oh yeah, I remember that business at the corner of Lark and Washington, a combination lunch counter and art supply store. I visited shortly after it opened, the proprietor also pegged me as a thief.

    He very obviously (with a whistle and a jerk of his hand) assigned a young female employee to follow me as I looked around. I led her around an aisle three times with her following me at a slight distance. Then I turned, walked up to her and told her, “I’m not a shoplifter, I never do that. But tell your boss I won’t be coming back here ever again.” She looked mortified. But believe me, as long as that store was open I did everything I could to discourage people from patronizing the place.

    Yeah, it wasn’t just you Roger. The owner did that to everyone who didn’t look rich. He deserved to fail.

  6. Jenn Anderson
    Boston, MA
    I am having l nightmares over the Rhino Shield covering on my house, installed just over three years ago. Large bubbles are in the material that I can slit and hand peel the material, right down to the bare red cedar clapboards, which were also primed with an oil primer and finished with latex paint before the Rhino-Shield was applied. The material has a lifetime guarantee, so when I called several persons, including the owner Rhino Shield they all came over quickly.Rhino Shield said that the material was probably put on when the cedar was damp, and thus would strip everything and apply a new primer and finish coat, let dry, then apply new Rhino Shield, adding that there will be no more work till flashing is….

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