Corona Chronicles: Capitalism

When you live in a capitalistic society, then everything is commodified. Everything is for sale. Everything hinges on selling or not selling something. This hasn’t seemed truer than the last few months.

May 2020: Reopen everything!

In May, Florida began Phase I and Phase II reopening. There is no doubt in my mind (and I’m guessing anyone else’s) that this had little to do with people and more to do with stimulating the economy. Businesses that hadn’t already closed permanently were excited to get back to “regular” operations. I sent my husband to grab some guacamole, but he came back empty handed. According to his observation, our local Chili’s, as well as other restaurants that sold Mexican food, was well over 50% capacity on Cinco de Mayo. I’m guessing it was because these places wanted to make as much money as possible post-lockdown.

Profits over people? Right?

img_4161June 2020: Buy Black!

After George Floyd’s death, there was a huge push from the Black community to start “buying Black” because if one is buying Black, then that means that one is not putting money into mainstream American products. The idea is to remove money from one system and put it into another, thus negatively impacting the typical distribution of money and its operations in the country, because when you live in a capitalistic society, where everything is commodified, then removing dollars is an effective plan if everyone participates and if there are enough places to replace current operations.

Don’t stop spending money. Stop spending money in non-black spaces. That was the message. Right?

June 2020: Boycott!

In addition to buying Black, a list circulated that outlined which businesses have supported Donald Trump’s campaign. Off the top of my head, this list includes Walmart, Wendy’s, and Marvel. I remember these because my family and friends love to shop at Walmart. My oldest daughter supports herself by working at Wendy’s. Aaaand, my husband and youngest daughter have enjoyed most Marvel movies. I wondered how any of them (or other citizens) were going to boycott the things they admired so much. For Americans, these staples have made society wonderful. You know how much restraint you need to boycott businesses the American people have deemed essential?

The list includes Planet Fitness, where we have a gym membership, New Balance, my athletic shoe choice, and Shell Oil, the place where we sometimes pump gas.

What in the entire f…?

I apologize. I’m losing focus. The point is if we collectively boycott, then we can affect current circumstances by not supporting these businesses, which implicitly support a bad president.

Implicit financial support = complicit support of a politician. Right?

money_coronaJune 2020: MASKS!

I have nine masks. I bought two by the end of March that display one of my alma maters. I have another that I purchased at the UPS store in April; they have typewriters on them and include my favorite color: red. I’ve ordered another that has banned books on them because that seems kind of cool. Dwight bought us a couple that are African themed and four others, which are black. A friend I went to school with has a bedazzled one. It’s fabulous. She also has one that says, “This sucks,” because yeah, even though it saves live, wearing a mask does suck and nothing says it better than a statement mask. I’ve seen others that have matching head wraps. You know, like a scarf and matching mask? Who doesn’t wanna be Corona chic?

The person who sold me eyeglasses described another mask she saw someone wearing that looked like his dog’s mouth. Every time he spoke, it looked like a dog was speaking. She snort-laughed at the thought.

Not only can I get masks online, but also at *Old Navy. Let that sink in. The store where I used to get my most comfortable jeans just six months ago figured out a way to sell us fashionable cloth masks. Isn’t that nice of them?

Usually, I have something witty to say at the end of a blog post, but not today. Today, I just want to reiterate what I said before: When you live in a capitalistic society, then everything is commodified. Everything is for sale. Everything hinges on selling or not selling something.

*Honorable mention to Banana Republic’s new line of loungewear because who doesn’t need a pair of $80 joggers in which to do their Zoom meeting?



61 thoughts on “Corona Chronicles: Capitalism

    1. oops: an ascetic! I’m not, but I’ve been boycotting, well, almost everything, for 20 years now, and it’s not easy. My love of walking and my hatred for shopping does help, but buying local is harder when there are no local currencies around, and I won’t even go into my experience after my thesis, in my own native city.
      I’ve tried leaving the country twice now, to no avail: getting permanent residence elsewhere, let alone citizenship, seems not to be so easy as folks think.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand your point Shira. Businesses have made it difficult, in general, to boycott them. Where will you get anything? So, I can’t imagine if I lived in a small town, with nothing in walking distance.

        To your point about leaving the country…yes…I’ve been looking into doing at least a year or so somewhere else, and it is damn near impossible without lots of money and extra paperwork :-/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. …or less money, as was my case: I spent months looking for work in every EU country from France to Greece, but finally ended up sending resumes out for Turkey, and I had (with my TEFL certificate) 3 offers withing a day! So, I went to work in Turkey. While it was much easier to boycott there (so many small what we’d call Mom & Pop stores on every street), people thought I was crazy. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes. It was a very painful experience, as was teaching both Economic History and English in the Yucatàn. There, boycotting was nearly impossible, as there were a very few small stores with eggs, and of course a tortilleria every 20 feet, but most people go to big box stores for most things. 😦

        In both countries, the influence of what people see on TV shapes assumptions of life in the USA. I tried to tell people to get subtitle copies of The Saint of Fort Washington if they wanted to see the reasons I’d insisted on learning Turkish and Spanish, and living outside of the Expat zones.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. all smart insights. have often thought of how advertisers want so desperately to sort us all out, keep us separate ie ages, ‘hipness,’ etc – so they can more easily market to us. lately have been thinking of how facebook is all about collecting as much info on us as they can so they can offer advertisers super-targeted ads…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. It’s all manners of foolishness. Ironically, or universe-like, I was in a meeting today that talked about economics and ways we can separate ourselves from the “matrix,” so to speak. We can disentangle ourselves.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Chile 1982! Girl in my childhood home watching “The New Odd Couple” with Ron Glass and Demond Wilson.
        THAT’S how deep down a hole I wanna go right now. 😩

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read everything, but I’m focused on the masks. Where’d you get the banned books and words masks? I MUST have them. LOL! Work begins in less than two weeks. I need a major mask stash. The more literary/wordsy the better.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for sharing!.. unfortunately for those with capitalist ideology change is in the winds and there will be no returning to the past… 🙂

    And some things are not for sale; “One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” ( Michael J. Fox)…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yup, its all about the money, money, money. Opening back businesses that will soon get shut down again. Because people think its okay to be rubbing up on each other at the popular hangouts here has resulted in major spikes and lining up to get tested now. I’m staying my course of avoidance and shopping when necessary. 🤷🏾‍♀️

    Liked by 4 people

  5. LOL, it’s a whirlwind of info, what to buy, what not to buy, what your buying choices mean. I’m buying groceries and necessities. Sometimes replacements for things that have broken. That’s about it. I have been patronizing our local, independently owned grocery, drug, and hardware stores, and ordering from Amazon, Petco and Chewy for things I can’t get around here. Stuff like clothing, furniture, housewares, hobbies/crafts, etc, will wait until the dust settles. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Boycotting can and does create change for the better, money isn’t evil but if spent wisely it can do great good and change people’s lives for the better, big business removed their advertising revenue from Facebook and almost instantly Mark Zuckerberg removed hatred articles from his platform even when written by the President of the United States!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Such a difficult post to unpack for me. I don’t believe in cancel culture and my beliefs are antithetical to the woke culture. It doesn’t mean I’m apathetic, or racist, or any other label that those who peddle in identity politics are quick to label with. I still buy Green Day music, although they’re politically opposite of me. I can parse out their creative side with their personal political message. I tend to buy whatever I buy because of the product and not who makes it. I’m also not inclined to change how I feel about an issue because someone is holding a sign, or has a bazillion political stickers on their car. I respect your right to boycott people who support things that you don’t agree with, although I couldn’t disagree with you more about doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear every word. I suppose my point is that because we created this capitalistic society, the only way we tend to think we can affect change is to buy something or NOT buy something. It’s like we’re always being encouraged to spend money or NOT spend money. You wanna get over coronavirus? Open up the economy and spend money. Hate Trump? Stop spending money at these places because you’re implicitly funding his campaign. Mad at white folks? Buy some Black products. This post is really more about my frustration with how we’ve created and try to destroy things…it’s always money motivated.


      1. Ahhh. I missed that. But to this point ” Stop spending money at these places because you’re implicitly funding his campaign. “. I think of tax money to fund local government. I don’t see it going at all to anyone’s campaign. Perhaps you mean if the economy improves it’s better for Trump? Which leads to my next point, or question. I understand that the overwhelming majority of African Americans are urged to, and largely comply with, voting anything but Republican, and this has been going on since Johnson’s “Great Society” in the 1960’s. If the African American existence hasn’t improved, and in many cases it’s gotten worse, why vote Democrat? If equality and assimilation is the objective, isn’t the individual greater than the collective?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Where is the round of applause button? Everything including people and their got darn health is commodified! This is such a we’ll put together blog; yet, simple for anyone to hear the messages throughout it..

    Truly enjoyed reading this powerful blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My mask says don’t let the bastards grind you down in Latin (from The Handmaid’s Tale) which I finally broke down and bought on Etsy after making my own with an old pillowcase. It was important to me when I bought one to make sure that my $ went to someone who was giving part of the proceeds to charity, while also supporting a small business owner. My husband just uses his cycling neck warmer because he’s a butcher and basically works inside a refrigerator so just pulls it over his mouth and nose when he’s on the retail floor.

    While it may be exhausting right now, I think there is a positive light and the fact that people are paying a little more attention to where their money is going to! We all need to be more mindful 😊. I’ve only been to a Walmart once in my life and that’s to use the bathroom, as growing up in Portland Oregon we have protested allowing them into our city for many many years because of how horribly discriminatory their business practices have been. I think it’s a good thing when people get to know products and companies better and can start voting with their wallets and not just at the polls. Yeah it might be challenging to change one’s habits, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth while. We don’t do Facebook or Twitter in our household because we know too much about how horrific company leadership is, and having worked in tech for the last 10 years I have seen too many examples of sexism and racism first-hand by the young white men at the helm with most of those companies. We don’t shop at Amazon (closed our account a couple years ago), and try to be mindful as to where we do spend our money.

    We’re trying to follow the Maya Angelou “when you know better, you do better” philosophy, and it may be stressful and tiring to learn that so many companies are so awful but I think it’s a good thing to be alerted to the truth, don’t you? Remember it’s not Walmart that’s essential, it’s grocers, and unless you are in a serious food desert, there are usually other choices of grocery stores that do a better job and taking care of not only their own employees but also not crushing small businesses when they come into a community like Walmart has been known for for decades.

    PS I am super proud of the co-op that my husband works at who, when word came out about Goya, immediately took it all off their shelves and put it in the food pantry bin. Right now I’m taking a class in Food Systems and one of our big projects is to make a traditional family meal and then audit all of the ingredients, noting the source and locality and sustainability and health attributes. personally I love going down the rabbit hole with these things as you can probably tell if you read my farm blog, but it’s definitely woken me up about a few basic ingredients (i.e., organic brown sugar coming from Paraguay as one example).

    This pandemic definitely highlights our capitalist economy and how profits have always been over people since the beginning. I hope to see some good coming from it in November….

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for this comment! I hope you read this post as part satire. I’m the most leave that company alone person I know. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve personally shopped at Walmart in the past 15 years…my protest of them began with two documentaries and a book, so I’m extremely happy to hear that Portland was able to keep them out of the community. They are NOT community based, no matter what their commercials say.

      On another note, I’ve been trying to find your blog since you began following me…WHERE IS IT lol I don’t recall having been to it, have I?

      On another, nother note, I do think on some level we need to stop spending money OVERALL, unless it’s a necessity, but I think that’s a different blog post for another day.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, definitely got what you were saying about Walmart, no worries, it just had got me thinking about how there are so many comments that diss ‘cancel culture’ as a whole it got me thinking 🙂

        You asked for permission to view my private blog a while back and I gave it 🙂 My farm blog is – does clicking on my profile not show my blogs? Ugh if that’s the case it’d make sense why things have been quiet haha…

        Yes, minimalism! Here on the Oregon coast in summer we shy away from shops because of the tourist influx and without my favorite cafe being open, the only spending we’ve been doing is on more used books…and used DVDs because we aren’t paying for any streaming services anymore. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Don’t forget the boycott of Goya products too . But yeah it’s been pretty crazy . I’ve seen alot of the fancy masks that show up on my FB feed, but it didn’t surprise me too much as cyber goths and rave kids used to wear them to shows all the time . So its just now everyone has dystopian chic. I just look like a sad ninja girl when I wear mine out😷

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It can be kind of hard to follow all the boycotts . I was actually unaware of the Marvel one . I just finished The 90’s X Men series too 😢 But hey at least I have The Comics Explained guy on youtube . He reads all the comics for you and is unaffiliated with Marvel . Although I’ve been boycotting Hobby Lobby for years after I learned about how they stole and destroyed antiques and Egyptian mummies .

        Liked by 1 person

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