“Shopping-Driven Life” Changing Lives, One Credit Card at a Time | HumorOutcasts

“Shopping-Driven Life” Changing Lives, One Credit Card at a Time

November 25, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, California.  Along Rodeo Drive, the Mecca of luxury shopping west of the Mississippi, a transformation of sorts is taking place.  “We see people turning to materialism in a time of spiritual turmoil,” says Fendi store owner Mishawn Tribush.  “Shopping can heal a soul that is in pain.”

Rodeo Drive


Trophy wives and socialites who had in the past gone through the motions of philanthropic endeavors are turning to shopping in increasing numbers as issues such as global warming and homelessness prove resistant to silent auctions and charity galas.

“I did Save the Whales and Save the Gay Baby Seals” says Elaine Threlkeld, a woman who could be relied upon to purchase a table costing $15,000 at any benefit for an environmental organization in the past.  “At the end of the night, I got to take home the floral centerpiece, and that was it.  There was this gigantic hole in my soul–something was missing.”

“This is like a totally sucky gala.”

That void was filled by the book “The Shopping-Driven Life” by the Rev. Arnold Rogers, which her friend Betsy Tompkins recommended that she read, if she could.  “It literally changed my life,” says Threlkeld.  “I realized I only had so much time on this planet, and I’d better do what I could to max out my credit cards while I was alive.”

Rogers’ book was written in response to Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?”, which has held a place atop bestseller lists ever since it first appeared in bookstores in 2002.  “Being useful isn’t something that everybody is capable of,” says Rogers.  “If all you can do is shop–well, what’s wrong with that?”

Rogers counsels women that shopping is a means to an end, and should not be pursued without a larger purpose in mind.  “A lot of credit cards give you frequent flier miles and other promotional rewards,” he notes.  “If you’re passing those up, it’s like you’re throwing away fishsticks in your grade school cafeteria.”

“Haven’t you got something a little more expensive?”

The “Shopping-Drive Life” isn’t limited to mere ethical concerns however, as Rogers counsels women in their aesthetic pursuits as well.  “When you go to an art museum for a big exhibit, don’t waste your time looking at King Tut or the Impressionists,” he says.  “Go straight to the gift shop and buy the gold lame t-shirt before they sell out!”

Con Chapman

I'm a Boston-area writer, author of The Year of the Gerbil, a history of the 1978 Red Sox-Yankees pennant race, and 50 books of humor including "Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up!" by HumorOutcasts Press. My work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor and The Boston Globe among print outlets. "Rabbit's Blues," my biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax player, will be published by Oxford University Press in September.

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One Response to “Shopping-Driven Life” Changing Lives, One Credit Card at a Time

  1. Kathy Minicozzi
    November 28, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Those of us whose lack of disposable cash precludes shopping on Rodeo Drive will have to content ourselves at the local Target.

    Life is so unfair! 😉

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