America’s Compulsion to Shop ~ Is Consumerism Killing the Soul?
Is Consumerism Killing the Soul?
Over the past few years it has occurred to me many times American’s are brain washed. Why you ask? The list is endless. It’s everything from how we feel about different religions, same sex marriage, tattoos or the biggest beast, consumerism. For me, this is the WORST. Why? Because everything we do in life, it seems, is to one up someone else. From my purview everyone wants to rub what they have into someone else’s face. It’s crazy to me because someone is always going to have more than you, someone less. From what I know about the world’s wealth, unless you are a Rothschild you are penniless and pathetic. You see, the Rothschild family holds 50% of the world’s wealth.
Lone Ranger, Rebelling Against Society Norms
It’s been many years since I started rebelling against consumerism. It all started that fateful day that I decided to get a master’s degree in Marketing and Public Relations. At the time I worked for the Dept. of Navy in a Public Affairs position. While I enjoyed the classes, the sheer way items are marketed to us is manipulation. Think the crappy kids cereal is on the bottom shelf so adults see the good healthy stuff? Nope. It’s there so small children will see it and cry until the parent relents and lets them have it. All that mom gains is a sugared up toddler with a sugar crash in its future, at which point, it will be a total meltdown. But, they sold their product so no harm done…right?
Worlds Best Cup of Coffee. Or is it?
That is but one instance. I recall one marketing class in which we discussed the “world’s best cup of coffee.” The topic, is this statement ethical? My response, no. After all, no one could possibly know if it is true. Plus, it’s subjective. My professor didn’t think so. He said, you prove it’s a lie. When I responded that I couldn’t, he said that is fair marketing. All I heard is its okay to lie as long as no one can prove otherwise. That moment changed the way I responded to commercials. Once a critical eye is taken against a commercial all you hear is lies. Marketing isn’t about finding solutions to people’s problems. It’s about earning a profit.
When I think about the cost of any item I purchase I always wonder, how much of the price tag goes toward marking? A billion dollar industry. Effectively we pay higher prices on items just so the marketing team can manipulate us into thinking we need it. Unless, of course, it’s designer. People are so deep into status symbols companies don’t have to use aggressive marketing tactics. People will buy it regardless just to say I have Coach, BMW, Dooney & Burke and on and on and on. Personally, I like Betsy Johnson bags and I have a lot. Why? I’m my own person. I’m going to buy what makes me happy, not what impresses someone else.
Do What Makes You Happy!!
To that point though, I get mega compliments on my bags. Everyone loves them.
Please understand I like nice stuff just as much as the next person, but only to a certain extent. Ron and I fund our 401K and savings first. Then we pay bills. Whatever is left after that is free money. Even at this step in the game I’m looking for a deal. I HATE paying full price for anything. As you can probably image I’m a big fan of Ross and Burlington Coat Factory. People keep asking me why I dress so nice. I’m like…..I got it at Ross. I get called a liar. A LOT.
We Should Ask Ourselves, Do I Want This?
Do I Even Need This?
Regardless of where the items are purchased it doesn’t matter. The point is buy what you truly want. Don’t let another person pressure you into something you don’t really like.
Back to the argument. Since the late 80s we were told to spend. Support the economy. Interest rates are too low. But let us not forget who controls the interest rates. The result is a lot of people with no savings. Sure interest rates are low, but having a savings is power. A new iPhone won’t replace your tire if you get a flat.
Reaping The Rewards Of Saving
People ask me all the time, how did Breezy and Shayne buy a house so young? The answer, when it comes to saving they put us to shame. They understand sacrificing today for something tomorrow. I urge everyone to save first, spend second. I get that not everyone has a lot of disposable income, but if you have rims, eat out a lot, smoke, or regularly get new phones, you have money to save. My point is we have inflated our standard of living so far, taken the need to outdo the Jones’ to such an extreme that we have forgotten how to take care of ourselves.
Why Must We One Up Each Other?
Our need to one up someone has created a working environment that is soul crushing. Somehow we became obsessed with consumerism. Asking ourselves, what can I get now? We should be asking ourselves, do I need this? Through consumerism we are giving our wealth away. We no longer look for jobs we love. Americans look for jobs with the highest salaries. We are trying to obtain the American dream. A dream sold to us by big business. We are slaves to our jobs and bills. Americans are so far in debt they couldn’t change to a more satisfying job position if they wanted to. I truly believe this is killing our spirit. Trust me, I feel it myself.
The Moral Of The Story Is This:
Pay yourself first.
Make sure you are taken care of. Avoid being a victim to consumerism. People keep saying it must be nice to be rich. The trick is simple. Save. No one will ever get rich spending every dime they make. The struggle is hard. I know that. Ron and I fight it every day. It’s difficult to live within our means, but we do know that if we don’t we will never get our retirement house. For us it’s that simple. We have mastered the art of acknowledgement. Acknowledgement for others who buy stuff they want, but we know our sacrifice will be rewarded soon enough.
Here are links to get you started saving today!!