- Subject index
The last decade has witnessed a clear and steady rise of interest in consumer culture. Many commentators now argue that consumption rather than production is the axis of personal identity and meaningful social action - a standpoint that reverses the traditional view that consumption is an incidental, trivial feature in contemporary culture. This shrewd and probing book seeks to theorize shopping as an autonomous realm. It avoids the reductionist characteristics of economics and marketing. At the same time it avoids the moralizing tone of many contemporary discussions of shopping and consumption. The book uses an interdisciplinary resource base and comparative data to build-up a convincing analysis of the meaning of shopping
Chapter 4: Supermarket Futures
‘Big Bear Crashes into New Jersey’
On 8 December 1932, the vacant Durant automobile plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey, was the site of a much-remarked event, the result of a recent alliance between two entrepreneurs and a Hoboken wholesaler. Five years later, the occasion is enthusiastically recalled as a media event, as newspaper stories
flashed around the country … described the barny structure with its crude interiors, fixtures made of rough pine lumber and its huge displays of merchandise as the center of attraction, with thousands of people who were swarming around them with baskets on their arms, content to wait on themselves.
From the fantastic stories that were spread around the country, the prevailing opinion was that the Big Bear was some kind of ...