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Stressed? Hop on the Burnout Bus

By Carol Sanders

From The Winnipeg Free Press, December 16, 2006

SICK OF SHOPPING? Feeling mauled at the mall? Consumed by consumerism? Then you might want to board the "Burnout Bus."

A mobile chapel is today offering sanctuary to stressed-out Christmas shoppers in the Polo Park area.

"We're looking for fresh, creative ways to spark a little life into what seems like a very stressful atmosphere," said Aiden Enns, an organizer of the church-based Buy Nothing Christmas campaign.

"While many of us don't do the shopping routine, we still have a heart for the people lost in the maze of the search for the perfect gift," said Enns, the Winnipeg-based founder and publisher of Geez magazine and former Adbusters staff member.

"We will have a couple of chairs to sit on, a church pew, a couple of ministers from the United Church of Canada on hand ready to talk with people who feel stressed out, who feel they've lost a sense of meaning in this season." The Burnout Bus won't be a bummer, though, he promised.

"I'm expecting quite a few people to laugh. We're preparing a leaflet with alternative gift suggestions that will be given with a smile."

The Burnout Bus and its scheduled stops have been kept secret until today because organizers feared the store and mall owners would order the mobile chapel off their property before they had a chance to park.

"There's always going to be some people who make a fuss about anything that's different," said Enns. "To be quite honest, this is a threat to the retail sector of our market and it is meant to be," he said. "While there's fun on the surface, we're pointing our fingers at an economy that's become quite problematic."

Rampant consumerism is taking a toll on people's mental, physical and financial health as well as the health of the planet, he said.

"When we're buying Christmas gifts, we are vulnerable to the myth that material goods can bring happiness," said Enns, who had just finished a seminar with high school kids outlining the link between consumerism and climate change.

"What we need to do is curb our spending and focus more on relationships. This is good for our souls and good for the environment."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Burnout Bus schedule MORE COVERAGE: Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg Sun

10 a.m. -- Polo Park

11 a.m. -- Wal-Mart on Empress Street.

12 p.m. -- Future Shop on St. James Street

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