In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Not just for the profit, either. God wanted a place where beings could find products that could make a difference in their lives.

The first thing he worked on was ambiance. “Let there be nice lighting,” he said. God called the light “Come on in. We’re open!” and the darkness he called “Closed. Please call again!”

God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures, some for heat-and-eat, others for petting, some simply for atmosphere. And to every animal of the earth I have allocated certified-organic food as well as romp-and-roll toys.”

From the dust, God manufactured a male consumer in his own brand image capable of purchasing, or “just looking” at, house wares and sporting supplies for many hours before tiring.

God was pleased: the heavens and the earth were launched, with placement of all things according to the Paradise Plan-O-Gram.

God planted a garden, and in its midst, FOR DISPLAY PURPOSES ONLY, God placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!®. Any knowledge to be gained from it was strictly proprietary.

God said to man, “Of every tree of the garden, and of all the artisanal cheeses therein, you may freely eat, whether it be dine-in or takeout. But the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!® you shall not eat. It is definitely not ready-to-eat.”

God said, “I will make man someone to shop with,” and made a woman. God brought the woman to the man, who said, “She is bone of my bone. She will be called ‘wo-man,’ for she is a tie-in.” God said, “Man and woman shall be as one flesh, a Buy One Get One Free. Be fruitful, multiply, and enjoy the Everyday Low Pricing.”

Now, the serpent was not a team player. He gave the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!® to the woman and said, “Just look at it. I’m telling you, the fiber content alone is through the roof. Die? Please, don’t make me laugh. God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened to real value. Here, taste the difference.”

When the woman saw that the fruit had genuine apple flavoring and 4 milligrams of quercetin, an antioxidant compound, she ate of it, and she gave some to her husband and he ate, paying attention not to what he was eating but to a porcupine pup playing with a baby panda in an extremely cute way. However, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!® is super-fast-acting and so their eyes were opened and they knew that they were not wearing men’s branded athletic apparel or Xhilaration® terry coverup dresses with ruffle trim in true white. They sewed fig leaves together to package their unsalables.

God paged the man, and said to him, “Where are you? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “I knew not that there would be 360-degree feedback.” They knew, both of them, that this was an exit interview.

“What is this you have done?” God asked the woman, using an open-ended question to gain consumer insights. The woman said, “The serpent deceived me. I fear I will have buyer’s remorse all the days of my life.”

God said, “In pain you will bring forth children. You will be met with frequent out-of-stocks. Your desire will be for your husband, but his will be for magazines about consumer electronics. You will surely know that he is as a final sale without warranty or return, for eternity.”

To the man he said, “As you may have guessed, thistles will have a significant share of your stomach.”

God sent them forth from the garden, far from the Lord’s fulfillment house, to till the ground. And at the gate of the garden, he placed a flame to guard the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil!®, which was now open by appointment only, for preapproved customers exclusively, some restrictions apply, not available to former inhabitants of the garden or their relatives.