Format: script only; no audio/video
Summary: Kim reports on the rapid spread of a very American phenomenon: the self-storage facility.
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[ Pinky & Bunny behind the news desk with microphones; Bunny sleeping/snoring. ]
News anchor Pinky: We go now to our Channel 4 Action News reporter Kim - Kim, can you hear me?
[ Kim, on location, standing in front of a large self-storage facility ]
Field reporter Kim: Yes, Pinky!
Pinky: So Kim, can you please tell us where you are right now?
Kim: Okay! I'm here at the site of this brand-new, 80,000 square foot self-storage facility. It just opened this week - state-of-the-art, highly secure, air-conditioned storage space for rent.
Pinky: Oh, okay.... and why is this news?
Kim: Well Pinky, self-storage facilities like this one are popping up all across the U.S. - already over 50,000 facilities representing over $20 billion in sales annually. In fact, they're so popular that in this area alone this is the 6th new mega-storage facility built in the past two years!
Pinky: Six? Wow, I had no idea…
Kim: Oh, absolutely Pinky, you really should go out sometimes.
Pinky: Uh huh. And why are self-storage facilities becoming so popular? Why don't people just keep stuff in old shoe boxes like we do?
Kim: Volume, Pinky, volume. Americans are consuming and accumulating and hoarding like never before. Buying things is the single most important part of life in U.S., even more important now than relationships and nature and stuff. In fact, I saw on TV that shopping is so good for you that it can be used to cure depression or fight terrorism.
Pinky: I... what? (skeptical face) Are you making this stuff up...?
Kim: I'm not sure, I can't remember where I heard that. But yeah, just think about it, consumption as a way-of-life is always going to produce massive storage problems, right? You're bored with life, so you go shopping, and when you buy something you're momentarily satisfied - "yay!" But then it's next week and now you're bored again so hey, I guess you have to go buy more stuff again. Then, after a few years, suddenly you realize your house is very messy from having too much stuff but then you can't actually get rid of any of it because what if you "need" some of it one day? So now you have to pay to put all the extra stuff you aren't using into a storage building like this one, so that no one else can touch or use or even look at your stuff. Of course living like this costs a lot of money but that's okay because you can always work more hours or get a second job to pay for it. Everybody's doing it Pinky, which is why in a few weeks this whole giant building is going to be totally filled with millions of objects no one really wants around their house!
Pinky: Wow... that sounds totally crazy.
Kim: Nah, that's just the way Americans like to do things nowadays.
Pinky: Hmm. (long pause) How long do these things get held in storage? I mean, how does it end? Do people just keep getting more and more storage space until they die?
Kim: It depends - some objects only get held here for a couple of years. But other objects might do time here for decades, or like you said, till death or beyond.
Pinky: Sounds like prison, only for objects.
Kim: That's a really bad analogy, Pinky - these buildings don't exist to control the political will of the objects themselves or exploit the objects' labor. It's really more like a bizarre, for-profit library - where you have to supply your own books, and pay rent for the little room where your books reside, and then only you can check out your own books.
Pinky: Okay, I think that also was a pretty bad analogy… (Kim: Yes...) Is this explosion of new self-storage facilities something that's going to continue into the future?
Kim: These types of "solutions" to common, everyday problems of material excess is gonna keep on being popular because they allow ordinary commodity-people to make believe their lives are balanced and orderly even though the whole society they live in is actually unbalanced and unsustainable. Probably the recent explosion of new self-storage is a sign that the excesses of capitalism has finally outgrown all the shoe boxes in America. This news could trigger widespread panic or thoughtful reflection; who knows which way people will go. Mostly I see Americans consoling themselves with that very wise, old saying, "There's plenty of fish in the sea."
Pinky: (perplexed) I don't know what that means.
Kim: I think it means, there might be enormous structural problems to deal with, but as long as there’s lots of fish in the ocean to eat, who cares. Anyway that's what I take away from that, I think it's very true.
Pinky: But actually there aren't so many fishes... never mind.
Pinky: Okay thank you Kim. (Kim: You’re very welcome, Pinky!) That was Kim, reporting live from someplace else.
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