I have noticed a most troubling phenomenon in these latter days. That is, stores reinventing themselves for a new age. Why do they have to do this? Increasingly, their layouts are becoming ever more counter-intuitive. I think they want to put you under some kind of spell. I panic whenever I go to Wal-Mart, although I shouldn’t go there seeing as how they are not exactly what you would call an enlightened business. And Price Chopper in Pittsfield…forget it. They have been undergoing renovations since the Paleozoic Era. When I walk into that place, it’s like I have fallen into some sort of bizarre dimension where the laws of physics we all know and love do not make sense any more. I went into Rite-Aid yesterday…I wanted to just buy some energy supplements. I thought I’d be in and out in a few minutes. I was disoriented beyond belief, and I was wandering the consumer wasteland that is that store for hours. Why did you geezers not warn me that they had adopted the Price Chopper model? Eventually, I am somewhat sure, we will get used to the dazzling new layouts. But it will take untold millennia and a rewiring of our neural pathways, no doubt. I do believe that this reordering of the old market paradigm is to somehow turn us into subservient and loyal purchasers of their wares. Ostensibly, the new configurations are to stay relevant in a changing world, but I think it is all a sinister plot to mesmerize and confound us. Akin to what the Vegas hucksters do when they ply you with drinks. The marketing universe is getting more and more efficient at separating us from our money. Their skill acquisition in this area is growing with an exponential rapidity. Our corporate overloads want us to turn our gaze from the dimension of the sacred, and continue to infect us with their own inimitable brand of spiritual malaise. We are now in uncharted waters, friends. I anxiously await the unveiling of whatever mind-boggling new technologies they think of next.