Another day, I sent more stuff to the dumpster, and fewer things were available in the shops. In addition to reducing the hours open from twenty-four to fifteen, the major supermarket chain I shop declared this morning that most online discounts are now on hold. Their announcement reads in part below:
"As we all know, we are living in unprecedented times when it comes to supplying our stores. Challenges with the supply chain have caused major disruptions in our operations. Our vendor partners are also experiencing delivery and staffing challenges, resulting in a significant cut in store product availability. Even unpredictable weather has impacted, with winter storms disrupting and delaying product shipments to distribution centers and stores. Because of this, we will not offer any online specials this Friday."
The retail chain added that it hoped to offer online discounts on Friday, January 21.
This doesn't particularly bother us. We're trying to eat more out of the pantry and freezer anyway. But I know some people in my condo building plan their menus, in part, on what is available at the discount price. The abrupt loss of sale items may have a worse impact on them.
In other news, the visit with Dr. Schreiner yesterday went well. My blood pressure was much better than it had been six weeks ago, but not as low as both of us would like, So he tinkered with the meds I am using once again and advised me to stop watching, listening to, and reading news which, he said, effectively raised my blood pressure without offering me a way to change or improve it.
This resonated with me a bit since a historian author I am reading recently made a similar point. In his book Humankind: A Hopeful History, Dutch writer Rutger Bregman laments what has happened to Journalism in the internet age, particularly how social media platforms have co-opted it to further their agendas.
"In the old days, journalists didn’t know much about their readers. They wrote for the masses. But the people behind Facebook, Twitter, and Google know you well. They know what shocks and horrifies you, they know what makes you click. They know how to grab your attention and hold it so they can serve you the most lucrative helping of personalised ads. This modern media frenzy is nothing less than an assault on the mundane. Because, let’s be honest, the lives of most people are pretty predictable. Nice, but boring. So while we’d prefer having nice neighbours with boring lives (and thankfully most neighbours fit the bill), ‘boring’ won’t make you sit up and take notice. ‘Nice’ doesn’t sell ads. And so Silicon Valley keeps dishing us up ever more sensational clickbait, knowing full well, as a Swiss novelist once quipped, that ‘News is to the mind what sugar is to the body.’"
So by keeping me excited by informing me of events I can do nothing about, the modern media machine also effectively keeps my blood pressure high. So, as of today, I am trying to turn it off. This morning, as I have been working on this, for example, I have Spotify playing a series of calming Spanish classical guitar pieces instead of a radio. Olé.