One of the main commuter routes in YYC has – what I believe – a great built in juxtaposition for anyone paying attention during early morning rush hour. Two businesses a located in a predominantly residential section of this route: a Ten Thousand Villages Store and a health spa. Ten Thousand Villages is not-for-profit store that sells handmade clothing’s, household goods and pieces of art that are made in the developing world. They are staffed largely by volunteers and all proceeds go directly back to their support of developing world causes and people. The “health spa” is actually a minor plastic surgery clinic. They focus on things like skin blemishes, botox, vein treatments and vanity surgeries.
Both businesses has the portable display signs out front which they keep updated fairly regularly. This morning I was struck by this juxtaposition. The spa had a sign that read, “Get kissable Lips” while the Ten Thousands Villages has their usual sign about supporting their fundraising efforts.
It was difficult for me to think what goes through a person’s head when they’ll drop thousands and thousands of dollars for elective, cosmetic (vanity) procedures and surgeries in a world and society with so much need and such a deficit of character in large part due to materialism and advertising. Seeing these two completely divergent businesses side by side really threw me this morning.
I thought, “If I was working at Villages, I would only update my sign when the spa updated theirs.” If they offered “kissable lips” I would suggest, “help children with cleft palettes in India”. If they were promoting “smoother skin”, I’d promote “tents to prevent sun exposure in African refugee camps”. I know that my response is prickish and doesn’t take in a lot of nuance…but come on, it’s such a glaring discrepancy between the wealthiest and the poorest.