What’s a Whirl-Mart?

Whirl-Mart is a way to poetically and peacefully state our collective disrespect for the capitalist world order and to display our opposition to the values of competition, domination, and exploitation imposed upon us by consumer culture. We target superstores (cathedrals of consumption) because they are symbolic both of the religious faith modern humans invest in material consumption, and of the seemingly inescapable corporate superstructure in which we live. For more info on Whirl-Mart, see  http://www.breathingplanet.net/whirl/.

Why Target, and why Atlantic Avenue complex?

The Target in Brooklyn is a huge “one-stop shop” that seeks to make human-scale neighborhood commerce irrelevant. It’s got plenty of shopping carts, many navigable aisles, and the special shopping cart escalators we know and love from our whirls at Bed Bath and Beyond in Manhattan. The complex made up of the “Atlantic Center” and “Atlantic Terminal” and some stand-alone big boxes is one of the malliest shopping areas in New York City, and is easy to get to by public transport-- ten subway lines plus the Long Island Railroad.

What to do?

Arrive at Target anytime between 6:45 and 7:45 pm, alone or in small groups. Target is on the 2nd floor of the “Atlantic Terminal” building. The best entrance, the one with loads of shopping carts and less exposure to the humongous checkout area, is through the “Atlantic Center” building which houses Marshalls. Take the escalator up, turn left past Marshalls and follow the signs towards the DMV. You’ll see Target across the skybridge.

Enter the store, grab a shopping cart, and start pushing it through the aisles. It’s a zen thing-- move slowly, keep your focus forward; don’t let the products seduce you into shopping, but be aware of all that is around you. Explore the shopping cart escalators at the center (but not right away—the “up” escalator starts right near the checkout complex). When you see another person with an empty cart, don’t greet her, but do fall in line behind her. And don’t be surprised when you start to hear the squeak of other shopping carts behind you. If anyone asks what you're doing, you can say it’s a “consumption awareness ritual” or “we are looking to see if we want to buy anything” or simply, "I'm not shopping." Relax, enjoy, and try not to giggle.

When and how does it end?
Often store personnel just let this go on rather than making a scene. But if asked to leave, do so. If the event doesn’t come to a natural end by 8:30pm, come back down to the main floor, leave your cart at the far left register area and exit out that fairly discreet side door that leads to Marshalls, the DMV and the “Atlantic Center” building. Some of us will proceed from there to a non-corporate spot nearby for solstice refreshments.

For more info, contact:
Andrew Lynn, 518-573-7947
Madeline Nelson, 917-538-7505