She says the shells she sells are sea shells and the sand striations showing on the surface certainly suggest the sea shells she sells are sea shore shells. She’s so surly, so self assured, so certain of the sea shell’s she sells sea shore sourcing (and she shows me sea sludge smeared on her sandals that suggest she’s shambled somewhere near several sea shore shoals recently) that to suggest suspicion of some sort of sea shell sham would be somewhat scurrilous. Suffusing scandal on the seafront shouldn’t supply so much soliloquy. Such superfluous sea shell shenanigans shall stop such simple seaside structures supporting such subsistence sales. Sorrow should subsume suspicion shortly.
So sod the sea shell selling succubus.
Statutory rights are not affected.
And that’s quite enough of that.
So shall seriousness start?
So how does one test the veracity of sea shells? Why would one? It’s probably easier to find sea shells to sell than it is to manufacture even vaguely realistic simulacra.
For that matter, if you’re near to the sea shore, it’s probably easier just to go looking for shells yourself you lazy sod. And it it’s not close to the sea side, why exactly do you want sea shells, and what’s your need to understand their provenance inside out.
The whole thing is very, very silly.
But there is an inherent silliness to modern capitalism. We are regularly asked to trust the people who have most to gain from not just us trusting them, but from breaking our trust.
The sea shell seller trying to scratch out a living, gleaning value from in between the rocks and sand of the beach, is simply selling us the things we can see on the beach. The added value is nothing other than saved time. She does the searching, so you don’t have to.
SHE IS STEALING YOUR FUN.
Picking through the shoreline looking for pretty things is a wonderful way to spend a day. She’s buying that enjoyment from you with a sea shell, a mere crenelatted clump of calcium (possibly, I’m not sure), and you’re giving her far too much change.
And probably, she’s not getting to enjoy it as much as she could anyway. The search becomes work. Her survival relies on finding enough shells, and enough people stupid enough to not want to root around on the sea side next door. Her life is on the line. There is no time to dawdles.
And of course, she depletes the supply, making it harder for the non-capitalistically engaged creatures (hermit crabs, for example) to find shells for their own purposes (a fine mobile home, for the same example).
So don’t sell sea shells, no matter whether they are sea shore shells or not. They are not your shells if you buy them. They are the shells of capitalism. The shells of alienation. The shells of the oppression of the humble hermit crab.
Of course, that answer is slightly less tongue twisting.
Which is a shame.
Illustration by Adam.