The Sarnia Mindset – Part 1 (Lots of Stuff)

Part 2 – Lots of Time
Part 3 – Just Get me to 65
Part 4 – Escaping the Difference

There is something deeply embedded in the people in Sarnia that makes me a bit uncomfortable. I remember when it was in myself, and now it’s obvious in close friends and their parents. So in this next series of posts, my goal is to question the mindset of those in Sarnia to see whether it is actually a good and healthy way to live, and more importantly will define what kingdom we just may be living for. This is obviously a generalized statement meant to paint an overall picture and there are numerous exceptions. I find it predominantly within the 35+ age group but I am beginning to see that it is deeply embedded into us really early and that if we don’t consciously pull away from it then we will all end up like the ethos of Sarnia, which isn’t a good thing.

I am going to take on one concept a post and see where I end up. Feel free to comment and challenge me if you think I’m wrong or add your two cents to bring sense to this all. Some posts I’ll add my own commentary about what I think and others I’ll just write what I see and experience.

The biggest thing I see overall in Sarnia is stuff. We have lots of it. For those of you that don’t know, we are an oil city. There are all sorts of industrial plants here and the pipeline runs right to our city. We have Esso, Nova, Suncor and all sorts of other big corporations running large plants right in our backyard. It is for the most part the sole industry of Sarnia. We got oil.

Things have really changed here in Sarnia over the last ten years or so. The box store commercial areas are booming. Wal Mart has shutdown and rebuilt into its third building in this time. Future Shop, Leons, Teppermans, Princess Auto, Home Depot, Crabby Joes, Boston Pizza, Sleep Country are just some of this big stores that have moved in, in the last little while. Along with all sorts of new stores and upgrades to the mall, if you were to drive through Sarnia you would notice lots of new subdivisions. Lots of them. All on the outskirts of the city, there is new houses going up all day long. The ironic part is that there has been no significant growth of population in Sarnia and in fact was on the decline from 1996 – 2001 (no official report in the past few years).

So what does this say about Sarnia? It could say a lot of things. I won’t speculate and make vast assumptions and throw everyone into the same category. But I think it is safe to assume that we here in Sarnia love our stuff. Population is going down and the amount of things to purchase has gone way up. Did we need something that we didn’t have access to before? Or are all these new stores creating desires within us?

There are line-ups outside of Future Shop on Christmas night for the big Boxing Day sale. The mall is jammed pack and it’s hard to find a parking spot and Wal Mart needs police to regulate traffic, even with the new traffic lights.

There is something in Sarnia that we are falling prey too. This massive rush for material goods is doing something to our relationships and our mentality. I know this doesn’t exist just in Sarnia, but I’m only in Sarnia, so this is all I can speak to. This desire for stuff is fueled by other things, there has got to be. Some of those things I’ll tackle in future posts.

9 Comments

  • All I can think of is that it sounds like Narnia

  • i dont think its ironic that there are more homes & the same or less people. its just alot of young adults that used to live @ home are now out on their own… in houses starting their own families.

  • I have to tell you, My Mom lives within a 10 minute drive of Sarnia, and so we head into town when they want to do their shopping or to go out for dinner (when we’re visiting). The place gives me the creeps, honestly. It’s nothing tangible, but it just seems to be a depressing place, and everyone I know who goes from time to time gets that wierd sense of dread.
    I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning, but as a kid we would always go visit my grandparents who live nearby. When I was in grade nine and read the book ‘the Chrysalids’, a post-apocalyptic, end of the world type book, I pictured Sarnia and its surroundings (subconsciously) when the bleak, irradiated landscapes were described.

  • Andrew, give me a friggen break, the only messed thing is you reading a book like that.

  • Haha, sorry Ron. I really don’t mean to insult your town. In some ways I’m a Sarnia-ite. Every member of my immediate family was born there, my family moved just before I was born. Plus, I HAD to read that book for Grade Nine English class. It’s actually pretty good.

  • Haha – well if you had to read it for school thats different. I thought you read a book on the end times or something.
    Although, that would be pretty funny if Sarnia is what the world looked like after the rapture!
    Oh brother.

  • “the chrysalids” was just as good a read as “the animal farm” another great book we had to read in english. for those who dont know..this comment is dripping in sarcasm……………………..

  • The mall is a horrible place – it’s new management are letting it down dismally. It was nice – now they cheap out on anything and everything. Their advertising used to be upmarket for Sarnia, now it’s cheap and nasty. The new Wal-Mart and the stores that will son surround it is the place to be now.

  • Nathan I think that Sarnia is not developing at all. Sure we have a few new stores and one new subdivision but compared to London and even Hamilton Sarnia’s development is happening at a snails pace. I think it may seem like more to you because you have been away from it for a little while.

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