‘Are you going in or not?’

It was a worthwhile question.

But standing face to face with that lavish shrine to senseless consumption always put a chill down his spine.

‘It looks so intimidating.’

It reminded him of childhood, like vivid memories of learning to swim and that cautious feeling, staring down at the water, in the company of full measures.

‘But it’s where people go to buy things.  It’s what we do.’

‘It’s what we do?’

He wasn’t sure what to say to that, but one thing was clear: there was something very wrong here.  Beyond that threshold an intangible menace resided, waiting to ensnare those choosing to enter into lives of servitude and, dare he think it, intellectual malnourishment.

‘C’mon, the sale ends today.  If we hurry, we can get three for the price of one.’

‘But I only need one.’  In truth, he really didn’t need it, he only thought he did.

And as the doors swung back and forth for the endless human parade, all he could hear within that glass behemoth was the echo of hollow conceits.

That, and the sound of his own inner will whispering the words, ‘Walk away, walk away.’