Beware of ‘Big Brother’ on Aisle 5 of the Local Supermarket — Watching Our Every Move

What if we all end up wearing bodycams and monitoring each other’s actions?

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
5 min readMay 3, 2024
Photo courtesy of author

“These books will stay with you forever, at least for the rest of your lives. And that is the true importance of literature — it has the power to shape and mold our perception of reality and help us see things that otherwise might remain obscure.”

I remember my high school teacher saying this back in the 1980s. I didn’t believe her at the time — I was a lazy, disinterested student — but recently, I realized that she might have had a point.

Like many people growing up during the Cold War, I was forced to read a lot of dystopian fiction — Brave New World, 1984, and the Lord of the Flies, to name a few.

I guess it was meant to show us the kind of world we would live in if we lost to the “Red Menace.” Still, thirty years later, I increasingly encounter instances that validate the messages of those books despite them being set in totally different contexts and written for entirely different purposes.

And the latest example?

Finding “Big Brother,” alive and well, and working on Aisle 5 of my local supermarket.

A Bright Day in Late



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.