DIY Thursday: Carnivalesquing the grocery store

Bartholomew Fair

As epitomized in Ben Jonson’s comedy Bartholomew Fayre (1614), the fair was a week-long carnival of commerce, pleasure-seeking, marvels, and delights. In Jonson’s rendering, the meaningful social order was also overturned for a time, with the high being brought low and the low high. For us, the lesson is that social status, good reputation, and good fortune come to seem not only strange and peculiar but strangely insignificant.

It’s Topsy Turvy in Grocery Land!

Try to follow these guidelines and see what you discover:

  1. The customer is always wrong.
  2. The checkout girls (and, yes, they’re usually girls and young women) are in a hurry.
  3. The stock boys are stockbrokers.
  4. The grocery aisles are not SUV lanes. They are gauntlets.

And what do you find?

‘Things are Seldom What They Seem’

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