The Age of Mass Consumerism

Video DromeWhy is it that we as humans go to extreme lengths to get the next new object? We stand in lines (often times wrapped around the establishment) like we are starving for food for something that is not a necessity.

These are questions I’ve asked both myself and those around me infinitely.

Humans are supposed to be among the most intelligent beings on the planet. We’re a step up on the evolutionary ladder, yet when the newest smart phone, gaming console, or TV comes out we rush like madmen/women to obtain the said electronic device. Is it the change of society? Were we always like this? Both possibilities are quite realistic. Those of you that were around in the 90s all remember the Tickle Me Elmo in all of its rabid mania. For those of you that don’t, people were basically knocking each other over and throwing elbows for a hunk of fluff stitched together that giggled. If you ask me, it was damn creepy. My opinion is invalid to the point, though. (If you like, you can read about my morbid fear of certain dolls here.)

Has our fascination with that which “everyone has to have” become an obsession in this age of technology? Take on one of my favorite subjects for example. The ever-so-dreaded “Black Friday” sales that take place at most of your major retailers are becoming undeniably more popular every year. My family and I laugh hysterically at the term “door busters” yet; it is becoming part of our language.

The Sad Truth

The upsetting part of this growing haywire nature of consumerism is sometimes people get hurt or even killed in the process. Not only do innocent bystanders get trampled so some idiots can get a flat screen, but sometimes people get shot or maimed on the street for having the hot new item like a pair of highly desired sneakers or a next-gen gaming console.

The responsibility we have as individuals is to ask ourselves is this all really worth it? Yes, these shiny things may bring us a lot of happiness, make our lives easier, or even help out with a lot of our menial tasks, but at what cost? Is it really worth risking your life over? Would it really hurt just waiting a few weeks or months longer? You may not be the cool kid on the block, but at least you can say you didn’t harm anyone or get harmed over it.

The Weight of it All

When you hear an upsetting story on the news, do you turn away? Or does it make you think? We may never fully know or understand what drives us to seek out such animalistic behavior over a mere possession. Perhaps it’s something deep-rooted. Maybe, just maybe it’s something deep within our humanity’s past that was passed down from our ancestors. It may have something to do with the fact that we are largely territorial creatures, and this as we see it, is our territory. We do all have to eventually accept the somewhat dismal truth that we cannot take it all with us when we die. Your job, the money you make from it, the suffering we endure, and all the possessions we lust after will not come with us. In the end, we go out much like we came in, alone.

Have you ever gone crazy over an object? Was there ever something you just had to have? Did you ever go to a “Black Friday” sale?

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29 thoughts on “The Age of Mass Consumerism

  1. If I see more than one person in a line I’ll go get a coffee. There is nothing on this earth I would go crazy over and want ‘immediately’.

    I love this post because it’s something I think about (a lot) – have we human’s always been like this or are we evolving (devolving) into greedy selfish twits? Everyone expects instantaneous gratification, food, games, love – it seems to be getting completely out of hand. Caron mentioned road rage and this is another thing that I’m sure is related – no one thinks of the ‘journey’ anymore, it’s just the ‘getting there as quickly as possible’ that they seem to want.

    I love the line “what drives us to seek out such animalistic behavior over a mere possession” because the greed out there is appalling and I just don’t know the answer to this.

    We can’t take it with us – ‘there are no pockets in a shroud’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh, Dianne – I wish I could frame this response. It’s so true. I’m not sure what’s causing it – I’ve even seen myself get crazy over things but I couldn’t see myself harming someone over something meaningless. I’m more of a defender/protector. I’ll protect my son from crazies – even if it costs me my own safety. Other than that, though – I just don’t get this whole “microwave fast” culture we’re living in.

      Caron’s point about road rage is excellent. I do certainly agree they’re most likely related.
      I love your last sentence – so true, so deep.

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  2. I do make impulse purchases but haven’t worried about the must have stuff since I was at school. I did work hard to find some toys for the children, such as ninja turtle figures. But nothing more than that. And as time goes on I want less. Very lucky not to be sucked in (so far). Who knows when something might come along that I can’t resist?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WE are the ones who think we are intelligent…that doesn’t mean it’s true. I think we are genetically programmed to like new shiny objects…just like monkeys. We get bored easily and want new toys. I disagree that we are the most intelligent species. The other animals don’t destroy their water, air, home or each other. Only we do that. Intelligent. not in a million years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I worded it “supposed to be”. 😉
      You’re 100% right and make an excellent point. I actually read a scientific fact the other day that if humans were to go extinct within something like 3-5 years, all other species on Earth would thrive.

      Food for thought, right?

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  4. I worked retail for 13 years and saw many Black Fridays. I never witnessed any violence, but a lot of people were just dicks on that day. Others were having fun. I don’t really have a problem with Black Friday other than it’s turned into Black Thanksgiving now.

    I do my shopping online now. Much easier and no one to fight with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really surprised to hear that, TD. & It’s hard to shock me. It’s awesome to have the perspective from you too.

      May I ask what region of the US you live in? You don’t have to be specific – just general. I’m curious because I live over on the east coast of the US in Jersey and just about every friend & family member I’ve talked to within the entire Tri-State agrees that it gets crazy over here around that time of year.

      Your opinion & facts just made it all the more interesting. Maybe it depends on your area & the people in it too?

      Either way – I’m glad no one acted like animals by you. & I’m really not a fan of it all moving into Thanksgiving now too. I know a lot of that is just this ‘new age economy’ and an excuse to make money. Still, it’s a holiday that’s supposed to be about friends and family.

      I’m with you for shopping online. A few others here agree with you & so do I. It seems like the smart thing to do.

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      1. I live in Cincinnati. There has been violence around here once that I know of. A riot broke out in Best Buy when they had none of the Wiis they had advertised. Shut down the store. I didn’t witness that, but generally people around here know what they’re in for when they go out.

        I don’t like people or crowds, so ever since I got out of retail I have largely avoided it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s not too bad. I mean, a riot is of course not good but it’s better to hear that there hasn’t been much of that craziness around there.

          I am so not a fan of crowds either. I don’t even like shopping on generally busy days. I used to go to the supermarket at night to avoid all of it. I guess that’s a little much but hey – I didn’t like daytime when people were pushing me around and being rude.

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  5. We gave our son a watch for Christmas several years ago. It was pretty sleek with a diamond in it. I don’t remember the brand, but it was highly desired at the time. It was stolen once (unfortunately, a fight ensued for him to get it back), and he was nearly rolled for it another time. He said it wasn’t worth wearing it, and it’s been in the box ever since. I’ve never understood how there can be such a lack of respect for another person’s property.

    I’m not one for things. I’m more of a memory maker. I’ve never wanted something so badly that I had to rush out and get it, nor have I ever stood in a Black Friday line. Our son and I used to go out for lunch on Black Friday and get into the fray afterward, because it was fun and signaled the start of Christmas season for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maddie, you brought up something so incredibly important. Memories- cherishing what we already have.

      My grandmother was a big fan of shopping on Christmas Eve because she loved all the bargains. She was a quirky yet lovable woman. I never understood why she’d put herself in the middle of madness just for a deal. It was just her thing, though. & Sometimes, as a child, I got dragged along. (I think that’s why I despise the thought of large crowds now.)

      As for your son, sadly, I’m not surprised that’s how people acted towards him. Not much surprises me anymore in this world we’re living in. It is a shame that so many have not only a lack of respect for a person’s property, but the overall person too.

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  6. Hi! (Again).

    To answer your questions:

    –Have you ever gone crazy over an object?

    I bought a Roy Mustang plushie on impulse. But what can I say? He’s just my favorite character from my favorite anime series and I’ll remain unapologetic about it. Yet I see where you’re coming from. 🙂

    –Was there ever something you just had to have?

    Many things, actually. I will admit, however, that the older I’ve gotten, the less I’ve wanted. A clear exception is the plushie and I still cringed at how high the S/H fee was. Usually, I won’t spend what I don’t have on things to later realize I really don’t need them. Plus starting to earn an income can change things. Yes, I know I’m being contradictory, but there’s always someone, give or take, who just doesn’t consume to receive gratification or some sort of entitlement. Or even as an evolutionary response. A lot of people just consume to fill voids.

    This has nothing to do with your other “GREED” post, but it was an actual conversation: I ended up explaining what I thought greed was. It must be evolutionary/social depending on how you want to define it. Everyone has it. I’d change Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into WANTS. Starting with the physiological ones. You may want sex, but you don’t always need it. If you need it (ideally) it would be for procreation. That you want it in any other way, that’s social/crowd control. One funny example of that is how eerie it feels when you bump into most Scorpios and they always tell you they *do* enjoy sex (I’m next, Sagittarius).

    Same thing happens when someone wins the jackpot. Do they need it? Maybe. They still need it if it’s for charity and not themselves. Do they want it? YES. If it were solely about needing those millions, why would anyone ever give that prize away? Wanting the jackpot is something else. I have to agree with the herd/mob/animalistic behavior.

    –Did you ever go to a “Black Friday” sale?

    No! Just no and even if I was paid.

    That was long. X3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Long is never a bad thing here, dear. I love hearing from all of you. Neither is being contradictory – I do it too. I wrote this post from the perspective of a writer & not solely through my personal opinion. (Because sadly, I’m guilty of wanting the next new things to!! But will I fight someone for it? Probably not.)

      The perspective I used simply comes from a place of caring after I heard about a teenage kid from my hometown getting shot & killed over a pair of Air Jordans. Yes, you heard that correct. Someone shot a kid over some sneakers. It makes me sick.
      Yet, on the flipside of that coin, I totally understand where you’re coming from about the plushie you wanted. I’m the same way with certain things.

      & P.S. I’m a Scorpio. & I’ll argue that we almost need sex. XD
      It’s probably some part of our intense personalities. Who knows? Life is strange.

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      1. What I usually get are the crazier news concerning Black Friday: irresponsible mothers exposing newborns and/or toddlers, insane lines just to get a flat-screen, people dying from heart attacks or seizures because of stress or how many businesses are fined or threatened with closing because of false advertising.
        Getting shot, though. It doesn’t surprise me but it’s still appalling, nonetheless. It’s just horrible.

        PS. Alright, alright. I’ll just accept it and say you folk need sex. 😛 As a Sagittarius, through and through, I’ll tell you: GOOD FOR YOU. I’m still spreading my charm (while thinking, hey, remember that sharing is caring. The rest of the Zodiac can be sexy too!). XD

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That particular shooting didn’t happen on Black Friday. It was just an isolated incident – still unbelievable none the less, though.

          As for zodiac signs, I actually hear you guys are right up there with us. Lol Now I’m gonna go on checking people’s horoscopes. Always an entertaining read.

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  7. We don’t have Black Friday sales in Australia, thankfully. But we do have Boxing Day sales (December 26) that look horrifying. If you paid me, I wouldn’t go to these. I do most of my shopping online these days, although I still like to go to the supermarket and choose my own stuff. Even there, people have rushed in front of me to get to the check-out first. How about when a new check-out opens further down the line—the stampede to get there ahead of others! It’s embarrassing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you, Caron. I think every place has a certain day of the year that looks like this nowadays.

      Shopping online is smart. I do more & more of it myself lately. I’m picky with clothes, though.

      My cousin recently shared a story about how people were acting at the supermarket just before a storm. The details would make your eyes bulge. I’m not sure what’s happening to us as a whole, but sometimes I fear it really isn’t good.

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  8. There are definitely objects I’ve gone crazy over.
    There are also objects that I cherish, and have anthropomorphized several of them, ascribing their own personalities to them.

    But I’ve never (nor ever will) dive into a fray to get one.

    I agree with everything you say here, but I think it’s a cultural failing more than an evolutionary one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a combo but, I also think we may never truly know – which I kind of hinted at.
      You make some interesting points here. I certainly have a few things I’m quite fond of (mostly for sentimental reasons). I can’t ever see myself breaking through a crowd of madness to obtain something either.

      This was mainly inspired by family’s obsession with getting a Sony Playstation 4. They seem to be sold out everywhere on the entire planet. It intrigued me as to why.

      P.S. I dig your feedback, El Guapo. Glad to have bumped into you in BlogLand. I really should thank TwinDaddy more for showing me around your neck of the woods.

      Like

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