Has society gone consumer mad?

Everywhere we look we are bombarded with adverts; cars, gadgets, houses, clothes, make up, books, homeware and so much more.  Magazines, billboards, the internet are just a few of the platforms used to grab our attention. Whenever I am browsing on the internet, I receive pop ups from designer clothes stores – I really need to deactivate my pop ups!

I stopped buying magazines around nine years ago as I found a lot of the UK magazines had similar or identical adverts and there were a lot of them.  I felt cheated at paying what was  £3 or £4 for adverts I could easily have viewed online.  Reading the magazines also made me question my life which is not necessarily a negative thing depending on the angle you are coming from. In my case, I questioned my life negatively as I read articles on what one should look like, what one should wear, how one can be successful by the age of 25 – exaggeration but I am sure you get my drift.  Also many fashion adverts were for designer clothes and bags, £800 for a skirt and £300 for a belt – way out of my price range.

If I feel the need I will browse fashion sites online and do not need to part with my money for the privilege.

Clearly we need to buy in order to boost the economy nationally and internationally, however society does seem to be edging towards an ” I want it now” attitude, similar to Verucca Salt, the spoilt little girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who begged her doting father for a golden egg.  We all know how that ended up!

Marketing companies are experts at convincing some consumers that if they simply purchased particular items or services, their life would improve for the better. This may well be true in some cases and in others not at all.  People genuinely wish for their life to improve so they sign up to this.  There are a number of expensive anti-aging creams on the market with little evidence they actually work but women will part with their money in the hope they wake up looking five to ten years younger.  Sleeping and eating well, exercising, refraining from smoking and drinking have far more impact on the body.  Yet time and time again, people fall for the ‘quick fix’ option we are sold.

What are your views on consumerism?
How do you find a balance between your needs and wants?

 

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14 thoughts on “Has society gone consumer mad?”

  1. Agree completely. Society has gone consumer mad. That kids today, even from poor homes, think it’s normal to have an iPad and iPhone is ridiculous. Will they be able to afford to shop like that when they have grown up?

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    1. Gadgets are a standard for children from all backgrounds. They are not at all cheap yet many children have them and they are probably upgraded to newer models on a regular basis.

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  2. I agree with everyone here that consumerism is the norm these days. This is another area where I have never followed the crowd. When I shop I know exactly what I want and rarely impulse buy. I don’t care about the latest trends or having a lot of stuff, and I’ve never envied people who do.

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    1. Marquita – you sound very level headed. Be your own person rather than a carbon copy of others. As a young teen I had different interests to my then friends. I did not try to become what people expected me to be and yes I was often ridiculed for it. I was my own person though.

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  3. I do think the focus on buy, buy, buy, more, more, more has gone past ridiculous and is bordering on criminal. The fact that ads are almost inescapable when you are reading content online makes me feel hunted if not haunted.

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  4. Great post, Phoenicia. I admit to getting caught up in consumerism from time to time. I call it retail therapy, as it is usually during the occasions where things may be going rough at home. I try to resist it as best I can, as usually those purchases are things I later regret buying.

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    1. We all like a bit of retail therapy Doreen but when does it stop? I have read on forums where women cannot count how many bags, shoes, coats, pairs of jeans they have. Why is there a need to have so many possessions?

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  5. Just had a conversation on Saturday where a forty-something man was telling me how his kids didn’t really get a kick out of Christmas because they get so much all year long. I thought, wow, then I’m glad my folks didn’t have a lot of money growing up because our Christmases were always about the joy, not the stuff. I think the world is crazy, Phoenicia, there are people living without fresh water and we have advertisements for products like automated opening/shutting window blinds. Really?

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    1. Some children are very fortunate to have such comfortable lives. As long as they appreciate all they have and realise not everyone is in such a position. Of course you will ensure your children have all they need but the wants; they need to realise the value of such things. There is added pressure on children to own so much and some parents just cannot entertain this. I remember having fun Christmas’ as a child too. The excitement, food and games!

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  6. Hi Phoenicia,
    What great timing to post this article during the holiday season! This is one of the periods during the year that we are bombarded with messages about what we should buy and for whom. I have grown to dread this season, since I find myself with greatly reduced disposable income. Over the past few years since I retired, I have decreased my holiday gift-buying, and resorted to just one gift per person for most of my relatives, with exceptions made for my daughter and one other person. I’ve come to resent the constant stream of ads on TV and radio about sales and “events” held by stores. I think all the emphasis on spending is a detriment to most people. I wish that the American economy were not based on consumer spending.

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    1. Dr Rin – those of us in the UK are bombarded with adverts too. It is very much “in your face”. It is far easier for someone to ignore if they are doing so through choice as oppose to being unable to due to lack of finances. As a Christian it is important for me to avoid focusing on gift buying and receiving as this is not the real meaning of Christmas.

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