Short Story in a Song— Sleater-Kinney’s “Price Tag” by S.W. Lauden

I’ve always enjoyed a dose of anti-consumerism with my pop culture, whether it’s Fight Club, George Carlin’s “Stuff” routine or Mr. Robot. The darkest and most demented lines from Idiocracy still bring a smile to my face (even as I type this on my MacBook at the local Starbucks). The same goes for songs like “Lost in the Supermarket” by The Clash, “Royals” by Lorde, “Pay To Cum” by Bad Brains and “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve. When it comes to grappling with consumer culture, “Price Tags” by Sleater-Kinney is a favorite of mine. It would make a great short story.

Our protagonist is a 9-to-5’er with mouths to feed and bills to pay. Miserably stocking shelves for minimum wage, she wonders if people like her will ever pull themselves out of this discount spiral. Everyday is Black Friday now, with working class families battling for basement “bargains” that they can’t afford and probably don’t need. She questions the hidden costs of all those cheap choices and knows it’s time for a reckoning. Maybe she’ll be the one to finally trade in her rewards card for a pitchfork and a torch.

Previous Short Stories in a Song:

The Obituaries” by The Menzingers

“Ever Fallen In Love” by Buzzcocks

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

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