As Greg pointed out below, most towns in America look nearly identical- and actually that should read "North America" because they look the same in Canada as well. You start out with the basic batch of houses, usually built right after World War II- those are considered the "old" houses in North America. (Except for in places like Iowa, where you can still find older houses.) Anyway, upon that basic canvas you add a cluster of newer townhouses, apartments, condos, etc. And then you lace the major roads with the box chain stores.
Nobody ever cries out for these stores. I've never heard anyone say "You know what this town needs? A Wendy's!" But, they eventually come. Maybe someone dreams of them and they appear the next day. In some towns, people actually resist their growth. But, I think most people are like my father and see something snobbish in that. My Dad thinks that McDonald's gets a bum rap!
Anyway, here we have seen the regular suspects: Sears, Wal-Mart, Boston Pizza, Wendy's, McDonald's, three Staples, one Chapters (for the non-Canadians, Chapters is virtually identical to Borders Books), and a huge array of motels and hotels. It's strange to me that these stores, by opening up possibilities, seem to limit actualities- all the towns look the same! Even stranger is the fact that there are a limited number of types that you see in every town. Already I've spotted a handful of yuppies, the "old timers" who seem permanently embittered, three 25 year old insufferable white girls, the excessively macho guy who has three topics of conversation (sports, fucking, and those damn minorities), the middle aged woman who thinks that society needs to spend more time in Church, the pop-punks, and a number of "minorities"- in this case natives- haunting the scene like silent wraiths. (God, I sound like Holden Caufield!)
Anyway, consumerism seems to discipline these societies- shape them somehow. Consumerism and mass politics both open up possibilities as a method of limiting actualities- of instilling discipline. Traditional religions, on the contrary, rely on that method of discipline that limits possibilities in order to expand actuality. I don't really know if we're better off, or more free, in the New Regime than we were in the Old Regime.