Why Consumerism is Bad Essay Example
Consumerism is the excessive buying and a preoccupation of society with material goods. Consumerism is ever present today. People are constantly buying products because it is attractive to own more. Today, the more material goods which someone owns, the wealthier they appear to be. This idea causes people to buy more because being wealthy is one of the best titles to hold in a society. Usually, wealth is a sign of power in the United States, because the wealthiest people hold high positions in the government or contribute to consumerism by creating products and services that promote it. Consumerism also promotes the idea of individuality. People can buy whatever they believe suits their personal interests and fits their personality. Consumerism does not point to specific products, but rather allows people to buy what they want.
Advertising is a large contributor to consumerism. Advertisements are almost everywhere, including magazines, websites, road signs, and on television and radio shows. These advertisements tempt people with deals or even make the product look more desirable. Some advertisements contain subliminal messages or specific characteristics, like color and font, that influences people to buy that product. Advertisement is a major generator of consumerism because it promotes buying more, but it also advertises these products as being a symbol of wealth.
Consumerism is a rising theme today. With the increase in technology and the media, people become more aware of what products are signs of wealth. Back in 2007, when social media sites began to take off “a full 15 percent of [storage] customers [said]...they were storing items that they ‘no longer need or want.’ It was the third-most-popular use...and was projected to grow to 25 percent...the following year” (Mooallem 106). Even though people tend to buy so much, they are hesitant to throw or give those unwanted products away because those items are still important to them. Along with wealth, the value people find in the products they buy is just as important because those items give them a sense of individuality.
Retail anthropologists, like Paco Underhill, contribute to consumerism by playing into the hands of the customers. Paco studies shopping behavior to find the best way to display goods to manipulate the customers into buying more (Gladwell 88). People like Paco and massive retailers are always looking for the best way to increase the consumerism habits of their customers. To influence people to buy more, experts must look at displays, entrances, colors, lighting, and signs to determine the best method to persuade people to buy more. Shoppers tend to only purchase items when there are specific conditions in a store, and Paco studies behavior to find those specific conditions (Gladwell 95).
Consumerism is a problem as people are becoming too consumed with material goods, but consumerism also promotes individuality. Despite the negatives of consumerism, it is a system that gives people a better sense of self, whether that is feeling wealthy, beautiful, or on track with the newest trends. Consumerism contributes to a large market for trade and jobs, but does negatively impact the environment because of the need to produce goods. Consumerism was a major theme amongst the articles in Signs of Life as it showed the factors that are a cause of consumerism and the effects of the system.
Gladwell, Malcolm. “The Science of Shopping.” Signs of Life in the USA. 9th ed., edited by
Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018, pp. 88-95.
Mooallem, Jon. “The Self-Storage Self.” Signs of Life in the USA. 9th ed., edited by Sonia
Maasik and Jack Solomon, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018, pp. 103-110.