Thursday, December 06, 2007

Various Thoughts on Consumerism around the 'Holiday Season'

I am not doing vast amounts of Christmas Shopping this year. I don’t have time nor money to go rushing out buying for all the various and sundry people I know. For those very special people who require attention, we’re making some small tokens of our love and affection. Not having grown up in America, I’ve never been caught into the mania of Christmas Shopping because I never had anywhere to shop, besides the Sikasso or Bamako Market. I have recently, however, been able to observe the American at Shops and am curiously impressed. First of all, the Owners of Shops know what they are doing—The arrangement of items to their logical conclusion (lamps in the home section, light bulbs at the end of the row, extra power cords in a bin within arms reach), the changing over of merchandise during the night so that customers learn to Buy Now, because it will be gone tomorrow, teaching the consumer not to think before buying, the far ranging assortment of glittery And practical stuff at little cost, so that when you walk by, you think, Oh, I need that, its so pretty (when in fact you Don’t Need it). All this says to me that the consumer has been considered, carefully, and analyzed (well, of course, I knew that, it’s just very interesting to experience it first hand.) And it’s very interesting to observe that the present problem with products made in China (so many of them having lead in them) is not enough to actually prevent their being bought. I would say it’s near to an addiction, the Need for China to make us stuff that we can buy, especially around Christmas. We Need this stuff even if we know its bad for us (Spiritually or because it’s packed full of lead). And I don’t think there’s an economic differentiation for this Need—rich and poor are prepared to buy alike. These are just some small observations of the season.

3 comments:

Jen said...

Not that you have time to read (though it's probably good for any bathroom reading) is Paco Underhill's book- Why We Buy. You'll understand how people are duped all the time.

Polly said...

All you really need for holiday shopping is the marche. Vera Bradley stole her purse designs directly from those African vendors... :)

R said...

Good Observations. I actually HATE Christmas shopping because I can NEVER EVER find what I'm looking for. For all the stuff that's there...nothing I'm trying to buy actually exists. It's hopeless. Of course, I have that problem all the time, not just at Christmas.

I think food is a brilliant prezzie, actually, but no worries, because unless you can think of something particularly English you want in the next day, you're not getting anything from me.

I'm returning on the 12th, but sans Kass who is working. :(

~R