Infoshop Bop

By Elise Pallagi

Unpublished, 2020

The decline of mom and pop bookshops is a symptom of a sick society. I lie within its slowly decaying walls, planning the wake, desperately clinging on to life support with textbooks in one hand and zines in the other, shelves lined with graphic novels and treasures from long past.

These walls are lined with ideas that you do not find at Barnes and Noble, but many of them are available to order to your doorstep courtesy of Amazon dot com. As much as I admire the convenience, I would like to live to see the day that Amazon burns down faster than the rainforest, whose namesake Jeff Bezos stole on the backs of cheap labour and our desire for convenience.

Oh well, at least the post office may survive this retail apocalypse, but I will live in the corpse of the info shop that we once painted signs and planned the revolution in. At least I can watch the shopping malls empty and prepare for the burn. Fast fashion is starting to slow down as our wallets become lighter.It can be had cheaper if you buy direct from the factories of Shenzhen and don’t mind the wait.

Even the mall isn’t safe from this apocalypse. Didn’t we used to hang out there on Thursday nights before the days of online shopping? We haven’t exactly slowed down on our conspicuous consumption, the methods have just changed. The disease is still there and the symptoms have gone to the next stage.

The factories and power plants that choke the skies and foul the water overseas cannot run forever, even they know it. Nor can we continue to rip the Earth’s blood and guts from the ground beneath us to feed this monster and expect to survive it. For one day our descendants will cut through the kudzu vines that will overtake the empty shopping malls as they make their way across the crumbling empty highways searching for plants and game.

As for me? You can lay me to rest in the bookstore that Bezos worked so hard to crush. The ideas that lie within its walls and pages will survive the onslaught of the cancers of capitalism gone viral. We may die, but the words of the revolutionaries will live on long after the last factory closes, the last shopping mall crumbles, and the last CEO is hung from the entrails of the last politician.