Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For the Love of...Consumerism

Updated in Nov. 2019 due to breaks in links

Posted over at the Social Lens blog.

Happy belated Valentine’s Day!!!!

….wait, humor me for a minute. Would you rather celebrate a holiday for its meaning or are you moved by the overload of consumerism that surrounds our holidays?

Don’t get me wrong, I like to celebrate events, holidays, birthdays, just about anything. But I have found that the consumerism in my environment, the availability of too much “stuff”, has gotten to be so much of an overload that I’m turned off from celebrating. That’s a difficult thing for me to consider, because I try to focus on the intent of events (why the celebration is occurring).

That picture above is not an example of overload in and of itself. But let me clarify something: that is a picture I took at my local grocery store on New Year’s Day. Doing some last minute shopping on Valentine’s Day a friend I ran into nearly purchased an Easter gift for Valentine’s Day: the marketing and promotions from Easter goodies had mixed in with the Valentine’s Day goodies. Valentine’s Day on January 1? Easter on Valentine’s Day? Do I need to mention when Christmas decorations and Christmas merchandise starts to appear?

I suppose what really opened my eyes to the consumerism of any particular holiday season was when I began to uncover the origin of diamonds. Remember: diamonds are a girl’s best friend. If you are going to marry someone in the United States, it most likely will involve an engagement ring and/or a wedding band: with a diamond. Diamonds, much like red roses, are two of the most popular symbols of love in the United States.

Do consumers bear some responsibility for their consumer habits? Who, if anyone, should accept some level of responsibility when the market plays unfair? Does it matter?

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