New age consumerism – the missing connection

Four People Using Communication Equipment

I think we can all agree that the way we consume and shop has changed over the years. We live in a global economy where we can buy fresh raspberries in January, click on an icon and download the “it” movie right to our televisions, and have Amazon deliver whatever we desire the same day we order. But I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. It’s impersonal, isolating, and conducive to continuing to live life at break-neck speed. We’ve become less patient. Our attention spans have dwindled.  We’re less likely to read whole articles and instead gravitate to snippets of information. And our communication has been challenged. Good communication involves active listening, eye contact, and interpersonal skills.

I walked past a trio of hipsters hanging on their front porch in Somerville. My eyes wandered over to them and lingered a little longer than I’d normally stare at strangers, but I was struck by something that felt sort of out of whack. They were sharing a bottle of wine. There was a little bistro table they were all sitting at – mismatched chairs tipped back on hind legs, a bottle of red wine and three half-full glasses just waiting to be swirled. It was one of those spectacular summer nights with no humidity and just the slightest breeze, a beautiful night – and at first I was envious of their situation.  But as I slowed my pace to more fully check out what they were drinking, I found it CRAZY that each one was holding their phones, heads bent, fully engrossed, silent.

I’m a bit rambly, but my hope for those hipsters was that they didn’t order their wine online, or buy it at Costco or at some other huge supermarket. I hope that whatever was in their glasses came from a winery and not a wine factory. I hope they were on their phones looking up recipes for the supper they’d be sharing that night, collaboratively, and that their conversations would be sprinkled with nuance, humor, and eye contact.

I love the fact that my family’s business is still here, still independent, and that so many of you actively choose to shop with us instead of a national chain. We strive for you to feel that people connection when you shop here, and that one of the reasons you’ve chosen us is to support a real-live neighborhood store.  So thanks… It’s good for the ‘hood’.