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Stopping the Shopocalypse

As the Devil’s logos force us up on to the Interstates, we’ll be damned if we can tell – hey, am I just driving home from work again or is this the FINAL MOMENT OF HUMAN HISTORY? It’s so hard to know, because the Shopocalypse is coming through the dash in the form of a sexual whisper, and it says: ‘This is Convenience’.

We believe this – as the ocean rises and shoots through our windows. And we keep believing it, as our families are clicked-and-dragged across miles of pavement into Free Speechless big boxes. Do I have a witness? As the Smart Monks from here at the Slow Down Your Consumption School of Divinity have said: ‘Stop! Stop shopping!’

Now, children, we are all Shopping Sinners. Each of us is walking around in a swirl of gas and oil, plastics and foil. We should all hit our knees and weep and confess together. We are not evil people, but somehow we allowed the Lords of Consumption to organize us into these mobs that buy and dispose, cry and reload. Yes the Rapture of the Final Consumption, the Shopture, is under way.

The fundamentalist consumers are lifted way up into the air, into the Supermall of Eternal Convenience, where there are thousands of chain stores above the clouds, and where even breathing is on credit. Stadium-sized crowds of the Saved, entire qualifying hordes, are ‘shoptured up’ into a staggering array of discount opportunities. Those of us down here below have been left to die because we have an uneasy feeling from all the Chosen People talk coming out of Davos^1^ and Bentonville^2^. Yes, we walked away from the BLOW-OUT CLEARANCE SALE.

As we witness more hapless consumers vortexing straight up into the Supermall of Eternal Convenience, we must grab their ankles and pull them down, screaming, from their advertopia. They will think we’re Devils, of course. They may slap at us as we cling to their shoes and as the sales pass through to the sky. But be gracious. Simply say, ‘Hello, we are from the Church of Disturb the Customers. _Your shopping is ending the world._’

*Reverend Billy* and the Church of Stop Shopping are based in New York. The Rev, accompanied by the Stop Shopping Choir, undertakes ‘retail interventions’ (also known as transgressing in chain stores), lectures, and revival services in a bid to stop the Shopocalypse, and bring ‘changeluyah’ to the lost souls who shop at Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Disney. Join the congregation at

  1. Where the World Economic Forum holds its annual meeting of corporate chiefs and world leaders.
  2. Headquarters of Wal-Mart.

New Internationalist issue 395 magazine cover This article is from the November 2006 issue of New Internationalist.
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