intro to soc- cathedrals of consumption, panera bread

intro to soc- cathedrals of consumption, panera bread -...

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Susan Martinez May 27, 2009 Introduction to Sociology “Cathedrals of Consumption” It is the middle of the day; you are hungry and decide to go out for lunch. Panera Bread looks fairly empty, with few people but not too cluttered. You walk in and immediately the scent of freshly baked goods kisses your nose as you pass by the bread and pastry area of the vendor. As you continue to move through the vicinity, the sweet, soft tones of classical music encompass your ears. The furniture is that of a lounge where one can sit back and relax, possibly enjoy reading a newspaper, do some kind of work before class, or even peacefully read a book. And before you have a chance to even absorb all the delightful sensations, you are caught on a line that awaits the cashier and a ringing of buttons placing orders. So as you wait, you look upon the various treats on the menu with fruitful pictures of delicious entrees and a variety of selections, prices, and endless combinations. Then before you can make up your mind, you hear, “Can I take you order?” You look up in a daze, unaware of what to say or how to respond, and say, “Just a minute, I’m still deciding.” After placing your order, you wait just a few minutes and right before your eyes is the sweet smell of an appetizing, “low-costing” meal that will fill you up for the moment, but looks so precious with its silverware and glass bowl. You have now experienced a meal at Panera Bread. Panera Bread is what Ritzer can call a “cathedral of consumption” because of its control over the customer’s hunger and ability to buy, predictability in service and quality, calculability in the number of various selections and different combinations one can arrange, and efficiency in its ability to deliver your food quickly but yet in a way not be considered fast food. From the time you walk in your hunger just increases as it appeals to each of your five senses. Given that it is a restaurant, you come in hungry, but as you smell the scents of sugary sweets from the bakery, which is first as you enter rather than the cashier where you can order
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your lunch or dinner, you become hungrier by the minute. It is as if they taunt your nose and tease it with attractive stimuli that can do nothing but urge you in the direction of the cashier before you can change your mind about where or what you want to eat. You almost feel compelled to order more than you came to eat for a higher price than the fast food restaurant next
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intro to soc- cathedrals of consumption, panera bread -...

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