You know, it’s really weird that you get on a plane one night in the poorest country in the world, and in the morning you get vomited out at the other end into Paris’s CDG airport, a monument to consumption. In just the one terminal I was in there were dozens and dozens of shops, including some very big names, of course, with the big price tags. It is overwhelming, but I’ve been asking myself a lot lately when I’m in airports, which is not often, but honestly, how much shopping gets done at the airport? A lot, I guess, but airports just seem like shopping malls that happen to supply air flights. I can understand the need for some things being sold, postcards, sunscreen, batteries, gum, books, food and even I guess duty free is a staple now, but are so many rolexes sold at one airport as to fund a whole shop? And skirts, blouses, jewelery, t-shirts, underwear, children’s toys, and the list goes on, incredibly each deserving their own stores? Is this because so much luggage is getting lost that people making connecting flights are worried they’ll have to spend their holidays only partially clad due to lack of garments and won’t know how to buy clothing in a foreign language? And these aren’t even stores open to the public- they are accessible to only those in the security zone. I suppose the shopping mall style of airport has been around for a long time, and I’m guessing it is somehow rooted in the shifting of airports from being public bodies to being increasingly privatized. Or, can it be people are arriving earlier and earlier for flights and have more time to kill? I don’t know, maybe the word bizarre is not right, but I find it really indicative of our consumerist society’s need or desire to shop a lot, or that shopping is a default activity to spend time. But then again, I had shopping malls already so I don’t really have the most objective perspective on this.
I’m in the Seattle airport and pretty tired, but amazingly, the flight have passed pretty quickly, even the 11.5 hour stretch from Paris to Seattle passed really quickly.