STREAMS: Sc.Exp. / Math. /T. Math. / G. E.


Read the text carefully then do the activities.

Some people may feel upset that shops during this holiday season failed to meet their expectations. Not Bill Talent, a New York priest, who has been going on the streets of the city exhorting people to resist the temptation to shop and the demon of consumerism.
Shoppers, he believes, have little regard for how or where or by whom the products are made. They have almost no resistance to the media messages that encourage them, around the clock, to want things and buy them. He sees a population lost in consumption, and the meaning of individual life vanished in a fog of wanting, buying and owning too many things.
‘Consumerism is a dull way of life,’ he says. ‘That’s why I am trying to stop this frenzy and the buy-nothing-day is meant to reduce its intensity.’
It is not that Bill Talent thinks that no one should ever buy anything. On a recent afternoon, he was seen purchasing a ream of printer paper and other goods. It is the futility of shopping he is trying to address – the futility of leaning too heavily on the material at the expense of the spiritual and emotional. He wants to help awaken desensitized shoppers because they are underestimating the complexity and the beauty of life beyond the frustration of the feeling that they are poor or have little or not enough possessions.

Constance L. Hays
The New York Times : Jan.2003

  • Say whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).

    • During holiday seasons, shops do not provide everything people need.
    • Shoppers pay particular attention to where and how products are made.
    • Consumers cannot resist advertisements.
    • Bill Talent is not totally against consuming.

2.Answer the following questions according to the text.
a. How does Bill Talent try to stop excessive consumption?
b. What is Bill Talent’s campaign called?
c. Why are people frustrated according to Bill Talent?
3. Choose the best answer. The text is:
a. a radio report
b. a speech made by a priest
c. a newspaper article


4. Find in the text words, phrases or expressions that are closest in meaning to
the following:
a. annoyed (§1) b. all day and all night (§2) c. buying (§4)

5. Find in the text words, phrases or expressions that are opposite in meaning to
the following:
a. discouraging (§1) b. interesting (§3) c. giving the right value (§4)

6. Fill in the table with the appropriate words.

- encourage
- consumption
- intensive

7. Combine the following statements using the connectors in brackets making the necessary changes.
a. People do not care about the spiritual aspect of life. They do not find life enjoyable.
b. People feel upset during holiday seasons. They do not find what they need. (as)
c. A variety of goods is available on the market. People still ask for more. (although)

  • Underline the stressed syllables in each of the following words.

a. consumption b. vanished c. expense

Choose one of the following topics:

  • Imagine you are organizing a compaign against fraud and cheating in the local commercial centre, and now you are meeting the participants in this compaign. Make a short speech in which you

a. welcome and thank the participants,
b. explain the reasons for the compaign,
c. tell them how you are going to proceed,
d. close up the speech.

  • Do you think that Bill Talent’s method of discouraging people from buying unnecessary goods is appropriate? Would it work in the area you live in? Say why. If not, suggest an alternative (another) way that would be more successful. Give reasons.

- The end -

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