Please read "Setting the Course," pages 15 to 30 in the Reader.
This is an historical piece taken from the best history of the development of consumer society that I have yet to find.
You will find a lot of historical facts. Don't worry about that. You don't have to memorize them. Instead let your imagination work on the examples. See if you can begin to feel what it was like to shop, say, in the 19th century, and how that differs from shopping today. And pay attention to the ideas or assertions Cross throws out about the nature of the consumer society, how for example it functioned in a democracy of goods against class conflict.
When you are finished reading, pick a quotation you think important and write a few lines about why you picked it. Or paraphrase one of Cross's ideas or examples and write about that and why you find it important.