Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Consumerist OM NOM NOMS

We consume food and water to sustain our existence, but why do we constantly binge on material goods and entertainment with a feverish voracity that rivals the seemingly interminable hunger of the honey badger? I’m constantly exposed to such gluttons while working retail (and regretfully, I have to include myself in this demographic on occasion). I see it every day: drone-like consumers that rove the shelves, wide-eyed and salivating shamelessly at the preposterous array of different products set before their grubby paws. Itching to take what they want, shoppers fill their carts with non-essentials like “Eggies”---a plastic contraption one uses to boil eggs so to eliminate the shell-peeling process--- “Pajama Jeans”----plush fabric pants that poorly mimic the look of denim, which subsequently achieve a cartoonish aesthetic--- and finally, every conceivable flavor of deluxe cat food (both moist and dry!) that could cater to the most supercilious of feline tastes. On some level, I understand this demand. Shoppers crave the things that help sustain the most comfortable life possible (i.e. First World wants). Obviously, I’m just as guilty of consumerist complicity as the next person (especially when it comes to purchasing books, music, and movies tickets), but I do try to abstain from capricious credit card swiping. I’m seriously disenchanted by the load of shit people buy, use, and presumably discard after the novelty has been occluded by, say, the newest Apple product. So what is it inside us that desperately yearns to own the highly marketed, the almost un-tangible? We all possess some degree of this febrile urge to proclaim “MINE!” and then display our objects to the world so others can ogle and envy. I guess it comes down to our individual permissiveness, the extent to which we allow ourselves to act on such desires. And I’m pretty sure this isn’t something new…  Perhaps it’s been amplified by the industrial revolution and the effusion of capitalist free-markets across the globe (which I’m not necessarily critiquing), but it seems like humans have been attracted to temporal commodities since the beginning of time. Just look at any type of royalty throughout history that has bathed in gold, jewels, and other forms of ostentatious commodification (says he, who's currently rapt by Downton Abbey's second season).  Maybe it’s some left-over primordial instinct, buried in our minds, which compels us to collect materials that could assure our survival or even attract a desirable mate. But what really concerns me is the lack of emphasis that’s placed on minimalism. Haven’t there been numerous scientific studies that indicate happiness lies within specific experiences, friendship, and service to others----and not the things we own? I suppose these articles have been stifled by attention-seizing adverts on the margins of our computer screens…

No comments:

Post a Comment