Wednesday, March 07, 2007

a tale of the two target magazines

Two Target magazines plopped into my letterbox yesterday.

(Actually they didn't plop into the letterbox at all. We have a small, decrepit metal box perched atop a post and, so, squashed in half, each item scraped through the narrow orifice before getting stuck, and there it stayed until I came home and I levered it gently free)

So two Target magazines arrived in my letterbox, nestled together in stark contrast to one another until I came and sorted the mail.

"Great," I thought, "a Target catalogue. I love a good Target catalogue!"

Sorting further I found the Target magazine.

"Hmmm," I mumbled,"this magazine is quality info. I look forward to reading this over a good cup of coffee."

(Actually I don't drink coffee. Two hours after the inspiring liquid slides past my tastebuds I am overcome by tremors and faintness. Every once in a while I cannot resist the deliciousness of the taste, but mostly the aftereffects are not worth the small pleasure! But I still love the visual image of savouring a cup of the good stuff)

..."Hmmm," I mumbled, "this magazine is quality info. I look forward to reading this with a glass of water," and off I toddled inside.

It was only later that I realised the significance of two Target magazines arriving at the same time, one shamelessly promoting superfluous products such as toys, DVDs, and computer games, the other promoting the work of community development amongst the world's poor.

To me they represent two very different ideologies - in fact the values each promotes stand in diametric opposition to one another.

Flick through the pages and observe what I mean:

The Target catalogue parades the 'Dancing Princesses Genevieve Doll', storybook pillows, a Shrek pinball machine, and a Garfield Nintendo game. Then there's the Barbie shoes, Spiderman boots and Ninja Turtle backpack, all set off beautifully by the Bratz licensed lamp. Page after page is filled with potentially useful but ultimately nonessential items.

Turn to the Target Magazine and the content is nothing short of inspiring. There is detailed the story of five-year-olds who squeeze into a sixteen year old girl's bedroom in Bangladesh. They come for literacy and numeracy lessons, health education, and songs. While they are learning, most teenagers are at work in the local factory producing clothes... perhaps the very clothes that the Target catalogue advertises.

Could it be any more clear, the contrast between my rich, comfortable world and the world of the majority of Earth's population?

I detest the consumerism of the West. We are so caught up in materialism we've forgotten that we already have everything we could possibly need. Instead we pour over catalogues, which (to my shame) I asked to receive, looking for the extra possession that will bring us happiness.

Not that I want to go and live in the developing world! I'm thankful for the creature comforts I have - I just long for the day when I stop pining for more and more and more! I want to be content with what I have so that I can share my wealth with those who do not have.

Thankyou TEAR and your Target Magazine for reminding me of the billions who live with less than I have. Thankyou postie for plonking two magazines in my letterbox at exactly the same time, prompting me to ponder my wealth compared to the poverty of others in this world.

May I become less enchanted with consumerism, having the courage to stand for justice and freedom for all, resisting the temptation to purchase items I don't really need, sharing out of my richness with those who have nothing.

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At 1:37 am, March 08, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

It's kind of funny how there are these extremes in our lives. I was shopping one day for the food pantry I run. I usually shop in the city where prices are a little cheaper. I had two carts full of food and got in line. The young lady in front of me said, "wow, lot of kids or having a party?" I get a little embarassed when I have to say it's for a food pantry. She had this look of guilt on her face that I was surprised at. I noticed she had about three cases of soda, beer, chips, and snacks. She said "oh my God, here I am spending all this money for a party and your feeding poor people!" All I could think to say was, "there will always be people less fortunate than we are, we should help, we should care, and we should encourage who ever we can to keep going forward in their lives. We should never feel guilty for who we are and our success. We have the right to celebrate without guilt. We have the right to be who we are." She agreed, but when I left the store she was waiting outside and handed me a thirty dollar check and said that it was her way of helping today!

Sorry for the long post.

At 6:36 am, March 08, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

Now I have a tear in my eye... thankyou Sandy! I agree about the not feeling guilty bit... it's that balance thing, or living with integrity I suppose: enjoying all I have but not going to excess, sharing as much as I can but not feeling guilty.

At 10:42 am, March 08, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

I love Sandy's story, and your post! Pretty stark differences between reading material, Cec. Its really hard to find a balance isn't it? At the moment I'm going through a "only buy what we need" phase but its hard to do (the Dancing Princesses Genevieve Doll is high on Bec's priority list - alas it doesn't make it onto Mummy's "need" list!).

At 1:10 pm, March 08, 2007, Blogger Lucidiocy said...


You made me rethink some purchases today. It's easy to forget how blessed we are, but a little reality check goes a long way,

Thanks for that.


At 1:26 pm, March 09, 2007, Anonymous sandy said...

Cecily, thank you for visiting Mats Blog and for the comment. You are very sweet.


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