Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keeping Up With The Joneses


I have never really been a shopper or a collector of things and have never had the good fortune to be able to afford to conspicuously consume nor the bad luck to really want for things.  It has been at least a year since I have set foot in a shopping mall.  I personally believe that my car says no more about who I am or what I have achieved in my life than any other common object.  While I have always known about the American consumer culture and even had some idea of the extent to which it permeates our lives, it was only recently that I began to see just how invested people are in it.  Some part of me, while understanding the idea of car or house or clothing as a status symbol, was simply unable to understand the enormity of these things in determining the average persons sense of self, worth, and accomplishment.  But it really matters.  People go into enormous amounts of debt and end up losing their families and homes and ability to take out credit accumulating stuff and things.  People spend large parts of their daily lives shopping, preparing to shop, or thinking about the things that other people have accumulated while out shopping.  They sacrifice their family and leisure time for jobs they hate so that they can continue to afford to buy even more stuff and things.  They feel badly about themselves in the wake of other peoples stuff and things.

When was the last time you went more than 24 hours without spending money?  It's possible.

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