You feel like a disorganized piece of slovenly monkey shit when you walk through Muji. You experience a utopian domicile, with a drawer, tray, or freestanding organizer for every imaginable object. Every item has been synthesized into the same aesthetic. You think back to your own apartment, with stacks of magazines, piles of clothing, and coffee tables littered with DVDs. You feel shame, downright awful shame, for how long you’ve lived in the greatest society the world has ever seen without a closet-mounted shoe-rack. I don’t even cook, but I stand in the kitchen area, admiring the strainers.
Nobody bothers you upon entering a Muji. Ever the kings of efficiency, they spare us the awkward and superfluous “Let me know if you have any questions.” I always want to yell “you don’t need to fucking tell me that, I KNOW that’s why you’re here.” At Muji, the employees blend into the surrounding displays, emerging like ninjas only to rearrange unaligned items or pick up articles you’ve dropped. They disappear seamlessly into the scented vapor until you need to pay.
I can’t shop at Muji anymore. I just can’t. It’s not good for my mental health. So many odd thoughts pass through my brain in a Muji store:
“Why have I been wasting large tubes of sunscreen discarded at the TSA security checkpoints, when I could have been pouring it into neat, clear, 30 ml bottles?”
“I already possess fourteen different nail clippers, but I need this one because it is ‘Muji’ and has a faux-wood enamel.”
“I’m going to buy this jewelry organizer, even though I don’t have any jewelry. Maybe I can use it to organize all of the things I bought at Muji before I put them in the bag and carry them home.”
“Wait, what the fuck is a milliliter, and how many can I take on board a flight?”
“How am I living without this scented vaporizer?”
“If I buy this vacuum-sealed kale, I’ll be like an astronaut!”
To hell with Muji. Damn their efficiency. Damn their organization. Damn their calming lightbulbs and hipstery linen shirts. I wish I could hate them for something, like ubiquitous advertising a la Coca-Cola. But alas, Muji borrows from the Walter White school of marketing: sell products so alluring and addictive that the customer develops an unsettling craving and need for more.
It’s like heroin. Except, in theory, it’s good for you.