Is Consumerism Contagious? | Teen Ink

Is Consumerism Contagious?

December 11, 2007
By Michelle Parece, Wilmington, MA

Every day we are surrounded by consumerism. It seems as though everywhere we look there is an advertisement. Outside, billboards, and store windows flaunt the latest iPOD, the most deluxe phone, and the coolest new drink. Society has made it so that everywhere we turn we are the targets of endless marketing and promotion. Our world has become a vortex of excessive buying and materialism. It is easy to get swept up in all the consumerism that surrounds us, but how does this affect our economy and our world? It seems that the entire world has been bitten by the spending bug, and the epidemic is spreading faster and farther then we can stop it. Unless we keep the materialism under control, there is no telling how long it will be before our spending habits spiral out of control.

Superfluous daily spending has become customary in our society. It is typical for the average person to purchase a four-dollar cup of coffee, or a ten-dollar sandwich. This behavior is ok when it is practiced in moderation as an indulgence, but when this behavior is repeated every day; the spending begins to be a problem. Many people purchase a coffee before work, a sandwich and drink for lunch, a snack later on, and that afternoon, coffee just to “keep them going”. This can add up to 25 dollars a day on food alone. When folks begin to spend extra money on unneeded luxuries such as “iced non-fat mocha caramel lattés” and “grilled vegetable and tofu panini sandwiches”, expenses add up fast. People have begun to spend over fifty dollars a week on coffee alone. This, never mind the ridiculous amount of time they spend waiting in the drive through line, is absolutely crazy.
In the end, what have you gained? You have spent an absurd amount of money to ingest the finest food and drink; yet all you have really done is pay the companies that make these items “necessities”, and brainwash you to believe that four dollars is an expectable price to pay for a beverage. By buying into these fads, we as consumers are only escalating this spending to another level. We the consumer have the power to dictate the level of consumerism in our society. After all, is it not us who goes out to empty our pockets for the latest iPOD, video game console, or G.P.S system? Don’t we then posses the power to eliminate the control that consumerism has on our society? Unfortunately, many have failed to realize the trance that we are in.

Not only has consumerism made our wallets thinner, but it is also making our world impersonal. As more and more money is being poured into the electronics field, people are being replaced by machines. At the grocery store, it is now possible to be checked out by an automated register, and get your money from automatic tellers. Everyone is communicating online or in text messages, once again cutting human interaction out of the picture. As more emphasis is being put on gadgets and fads while less is put on people, our planet is quickly becoming a cold and materialistic place.

Consumerism is a big problem in our society today. Although the blame cannot be solely placed, we the consumers have the power to stop it. Our need for the best is creating a world where items are over priced, luxuries are perceived as necessities, and automatons are quickly replacing people. We must change our perception of the words “essential” and “important” if we are to fix this problem. We have the power to resolve the challenge of materialism in our society; the only question remaining is will we succeed before it is too late?

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Love to read said...
on Oct. 23 2015 at 7:39 am
Ah! A writer in the family! Very poignant.

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