I had a sneaky Whopper for my lunch today – a occasional guilty pleasure*. And while I was there I took this picture:
I spent the time it took me to stuff my face pondering this sign and came to the conclusion that although there is a blatant lie being proclaimed, there is also a beautiful nearly truth. It turned my brief lunch into a moment of prayer and worship.
The lie is that I have the right to have what I want exactly when I want it. The UN Convention on Human Rights suggests that I do have some rights simply because I am a human being, and my citizenship of the United Kingdom confers on me some more rights. My marital status and employment give some more rights and as a consumer I have rights that relate to the goods and services I buy. But no-one, anywhere, comes in any way close to giving me the right to have what I want, when I want it. I sometimes do actually get what I want; I got a Double Whopper with Cheese, but I had to wait until after the meeting I went to in order to get it. I also sometimes get something when I want it; I usually get dinner at around 6 ‘o clock, but what it is depends on a whole load of variables and I sometimes have to eat what I’m given, not what I want.
This lie is the lie that consumerism tells us over and over again and it’s very damaging because it sets us up for disappointment when life behaves normally and gives us a mixture of good and bad based on often random and arbitrary circumstances. It’s also very ironic because it carries a suggestion of ultimate and total freedom, whilst actually catching us in the most insidious trap. Do you notice that they say "We may be the King?" They don't let you have all the power. In fact if you went in and ordered a KFC you would find out they they are pretty much in control**.
*It was a celebration treat for finishing my essays, which is why I haven't been around much.
** Wouldn't you just love to demand a Big Mac and then threaten to sue them under the Trades Descriptions Act when they refuse???