Satan (in the guise of Max Von Sydow) moves to a small New England town and opens an antique store called Needful Things. And as the saying goes, all hell breaks loose. You don’t need to read the book or watch the movie to know that there are dozens of “Needful Things” in every town in America. Tune in any radio station and listen for an hour or so and you’ll be convinced that American’s are in desperate “need” of things.
Here are a few gems from the list I’ve kept of the things retailers provide for all of our “needs.” Automotive repair needs (including tune up, tires, brakes, collision needs) gardening needs, decorating needs, moving needs, hardware needs, floor covering needs, office equipment needs, computer needs (not limited to repair, networking and software needs), party supply needs, financial needs, real estate needs, catering needs, wedding needs, heating and cooling needs, plumbing needs, insurance needs, electrical needs, eye care needs, chiropractic needs, printing needs and (I am not making this up) I once heard an ad for a store in Myrtle Beach South Carolina to see for all your FLAGPOLE NEEDS!
Perhaps the Marines on Iwo Jima had a “flagpole need” as they made it to the top of Mt Suribachi. But more likely they “needed” was a symbol to signify the capture of the island’s high point. (The famous photo was actually of the second flag raising).
The late Harvard Professor Emeritus Theodore Levitt is credited with originating the adage that, “Several million quarter inch drill bits were sold last year but no one wanted a quarter-inch drill bit. They wanted a quarter inch hole.”
But back the pony up for a minute. Does anyone want a quarter-inch hole in his or her wall? Perhaps the hole was drilled to hold an anchor to hold the hook that held the picture frame that held your diploma. “We can’t help you pass your final exam but we’ll make sure the rest of the world notices your accomplishment. Visit Drill Bit City – more bits less bite on your budget.”
We don’t have “needs.” We want our car to start. We want a garden that’s the envy of the neighborhood. We want a drill, saw and hammer to build the long promised tree house for our children, a new home, a sewer that doesn’t back up, ceiling fans that keep us cool, a carpet to sink our weary feet into and perhaps a high flying flag to show support for our troops in harm’s way.