Archive for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Anti-shopping message brought to Mass. Street

December 15, 2005


If televangelists hated Wal-Mart, they would probably look and sound something like Bill Talen.

Talen - better known as "Reverend Billy" - led a choir and two-dozen acolytes of his "Church of Stop Shopping" down Massachusetts Street on Wednesday afternoon, part of a nationwide campaign against holiday consumerism.

"We're saving Christmas from the Shopacalypse!" Talen shouted. "Amen, hallelujah!"

Though attired in a TV preacher's blonde pompadour and pastor's collar, Talen's "church" has no religious intent. He started his satirical congregation in the late 1990s, in response to growing corporate control over New York's Times Square.

On Wednesday, he was accompanied by a documentary crew making a movie about Talen's Christmas campaign, a New York-to-Los Angeles trip covering 4,500 miles in the three weeks before the holiday.

During his Lawrence stop, Talen preached against big-box stores and sweatshops, heard "shopping sins" in a confessional and proclaimed local merchant Ernst Hardware a "saint."

"Reverend Billy" Talen and the "Church of Stop Shopping" marches down Massachusetts Street Wednesday afternoon while singing praises to local businesses and chastising larger chain stores.

"Reverend Billy" Talen and the "Church of Stop Shopping" marches down Massachusetts Street Wednesday afternoon while singing praises to local businesses and chastising larger chain stores.

If you must shop, Talen said, shop local.

"Go to Massachusetts Street, go to a proprietor whose name you know," Talen said, before interrupting downtown traffic.

In Lawrence, Talen's followers said, he was probably preaching to the converted.

"Lawrence," said Matthew Roth, a spokesman for the campaign, " is one of the model towns in the country for supporting local businesses."


Ragingbear 12 years, 2 months ago

Ernst Hardware eh? I went there, and the stuff was just piled on top of each other, jumbled together. I was looking for something pretty simple at the time, and tried to do some browsing. After tripping over something left in the aisle for the 4th time, I left.

The prices aren't just a little higher than Wal-Mart, but a lot higher. I feel that money should be kept at home as well, and I shop many downtown stores, but that doesn't mean that shopkeepers shouldn't do their part for service and prices as well.

Sandman 12 years, 2 months ago

I saw the bus these guys were riding in (and on). It was powered by hemp!

neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

I would shop downtown - if it didn't suck.

It's just another quaint little tourist rape stop, paying high prices all the way.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

That new shop selling steel/iron art is reasonable and some very creative pieces are abound. Very cool lamps,clocks and indoor/outdoor art.

We also do a lot a christmas shopping in July at the downtown sidewalk sale.

Christmas trees might available free in the dumpsters this week-end or Monday once the frat/sorority folks clear out and head for home.

sharron5rs 12 years, 2 months ago

I would like to shop local more often, but with 9 Grandchildren, I have to compare prices. I did go downtown to the toy store. The price diffrence for the same items was a no brainer. I cant pay the high prices downtown charges. I know the overhead for the stores on Mass is high but... My overhead counts too. Even the differences in prices from county to county is a shock. It pays sometimes to make the drive to Ottawa to shop their downtown. Lawrence caters so much to the college kids. I realize they bring in the money for the stores, but stores I think, forget about the rest of us. Dont know what they can do, but wish they could. I would like to stay in town

dex 12 years, 2 months ago

look at all those students in snazzy jumpsuits and apparently in need of jobs -- i bet they could find jobs at walmart but not downtown!

quimby 12 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe all of the negative postings about our beautiful downtown and awesome local businesses. Keep shopping at the national chains and see what happens -- no more unique downtown that makes our city livable... I know I don't want to see the day that national chains run our downtown into the ground, so I'm all for Rev. Billy's message! Allelujah, Billy!!

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

Don't worry Quimby, Lawrence will always be full of rich folks who love to shop downtown just so they can carry bags with fancy names on them. Of course, if you want a simpler brown paper bag, you can always purchase a "water pipe" from Creation Station on Mass.

dviper 12 years, 2 months ago

I would love to shop local and keep my tax dollars local and support our local business owners, but I for the most part will not. I rarely shop downtown Lawrence anymore, mainly because of higher prices, and lack of product selection. I do patronize a few of the downtown restaurants, but that is it. Most all of my family's shopping is done at the stores around the 31st and Iowa intersection. These larger national chain stores have plenty of selections, good prices, and are much more convenient for me and my family. We also shop and spend quite a bit in KC, especially at a few of their malls, which have an even greater selection than the larger national chain stores in Lawrence. However, we do not shop at Wally world; we prefer the nicer, un-cluttered and clean store of the big red bull's-eye.

By the way, did these radical protesters have a permit? If not, did the LPD do anything?

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 2 months ago

Like Lawrence does not have enough home grown protestors others have to come to town.

What everyone continues to forget is no matter where you show in Lawrence whether it is Weavers or Walmart, a portion of the money stays in Lawrence. Sales tax is charged by all businesses and a percentage goes to the city. Granted chain stores do offer lower prices and larger selection but their are creating revenue for the city which funds the budget which funds the Arts Centers, Community Center, trash department, homeless shelters (both wet and dry) etc... If the chains bring more people out to shop so be it. At least we have some here so we don't have a mass exodus to Topeka and KC to shop at their chain stores of the same name and fund their economy.

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 2 months ago

Most of Wal Marts employees are on welfare of some sort. If you shop at Wal Mart you only contribute to the downfall of American free enterprise and your soul. Almost NOTHING YOU BUY FROM WAL MART WAS MADE IN THE USA. It is all made in China. And I know how you rednecks love Chinese products. Oh! By the way! Wal Mart pays their average Chinese worker .13 to seventeen cents an hour. (Or, about five dollars less an hour they pay their american counterparts). You the taxpayer pay for their healthcare costs since their execs encourage their employees to seek public assistance. SHOPPING AT WAL MART IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. Yes, Target is a good compromise, but please refrain from using bigoted terms about downtown. Downtown Lawrence is a really cool place and I AM NOT RICH. I was raised on an actual family farm. The type that Bob Dole destroyed and further being destroyed by Brownback.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 2 months ago

So my theory is that is these local shops were any good, they would end up having more locations and turn into...a corporation. Why not just skip the hassle of dealing with a not-so-good-local-store (who usually has cheap, cheesy products anyway) and go straight to the big guys? I could care less if little Pedro is makin' my stuff down in Guatemala for $1.50.

quimby 12 years, 2 months ago

come on, confrontation, you know that downtown is not just for "rich folk". it's for those who want to get out of their cars and enjoy some fresh air while eating/shopping, not the exhaust-infused south iowa area. Plus, the fancy bags you speak of are nowhere to be found at places like Love Garden, Sunflower Outdoor, etc... Why don't you actually spend some time downtown to find this out!!!

trinity 12 years, 2 months ago

lol blue-ya beat me to it! ;)

every time i've ever shopped downtown lawrence (which i still do occasionally when i want ambience!)there's generally a steady stream of cars going both ways on Mass...and you're right on, the fumes just get trapped in the canyon of buildings.

ban cars!

lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

parking, parking, parking is downtown's biggest problem.. so the city (the taxpayers) build a big ol' parking garage behind a bunch of buildings - does the city even have any signs on mass to direct people to the parking garage? -i've never noticed - anyway, so this big dog gets built across from the arts center that got built based on trumped up attendance numbers (360,000 visitors a year -yeah, whatever) -and nobody parks there. why? because people don't want to walk.

they should run some of the empty busses up and down mass with a turn around in the vacant lot north of the garage. at least the t bus would get some riders. do it for free, and make people pay to park in the garage. no more free time. the t-bus doesn't make any money anyhow.

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