Tag Archives | Consumerism

Chinese Man Commits Suicide At Mall After Girlfriend Refuses To Stop Shopping

deadDeath by overwhelming and inescapable consumerism? Via Gawker:

A man who was fed up with his girlfriend’s incessant Christmas shopping responded to her request for one more look around a mall shoe store by leaping seven floors to his death.

The 38-year-old, identified as Tao Hsiao, had been shopping with his girlfriend at the Golden Eagle International Shopping Center in Xuzhou, China, when she asked to check out one last shoe store.

Having been inside the mall for five hours, Tao had reached his limit, and reportedly insisted that they leave immediately. “He told her she already had enough shoes, more shoes that she could wear in a lifetime and it was pointless buying any more,” an eyewitness was quoted as saying.

Surveillance footage shows Tao angrily hurling the shopping bags and jumping over the railing onto the cosmetics section below. A spokesman for the shopping center says that the man died instantly upon impact.

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On Consumer Choice And The Quest For Meaning

666girlsVia The New Inquiry Rob Horning warns that attempting to express our identities has become a zero-sum game:

Consumerism is sustained by the ideology that freedom of choice is the only relevant freedom; it implies that society has mastered scarcity and that accumulating things is the primary universal human good, that which allows us to understand and relate to the motives of others.

Choosing among things, in a consumer society, is what allows us to feel autonomous (no one tells us how we must spend our money) and express, or even discover, our unique individuality — which is proposed as the purpose of life. If we can experience ourselves as original, our lives will not have been spent in vain. We will have brought something new to human history; we will have been meaningful. (This is opposed to older notions of being “true” to one’s station or to God’s plan.)

The quest for originality collides with the capitalist economic imperative of growth.

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Black Friday Isn’t Even the Best Day to Get a “Deal”

dawn_of_the_dead_1978_404_303_photos121This won’t be news to most disinfonauts, but here are some details you can share with your less informed friends and family.  Tiffany Hsu writes at the Los Angeles Times:

As the hardiest of shoppers prepare for the annual Black Friday consumption frenzy, many are convinced it’s their one shot at a great deal.

But “that’s not even close to the truth,” said Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at online personal finance company NerdWallet Inc. Bargain hunters can — and, in some cases, should — avoid the Black Friday weekend crush, several experts said. Many characterize the shopping bonanza as an expertly marketed ploy to capitalize on shoppers’ fear of missing out. By dangling a small batch of irresistible savings, stores land hordes of hopeful shoppers all scheming to score the retail version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Yet only a tiny percentage of customers end up with the most desirable deals.
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Study Suggests That Fast Food Logos Weaken Our Ability To Experience Simple Joys

mcdonaldsdisasterVia the Raw Story, a study suggests that corporate values have so reshaped our thinking and behavior that merely seeing a fast food symbol renders us less able to derive joy from nature scenes and music:

Focus on time efficiency could be making the small things in life harder to enjoy. The research, published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science, found people exposed to fast-food symbols were less likely to find pleasure in beautiful pictures and music. The research also found those living in neighborhoods with a higher concentration of fast-food restaurants were less likely to savor pleasurable experiences.

House and his colleagues decided to examine fast food — and McDonald’s in particular — because it “has arguably become the ultimate symbol of time efficiency.”

In their first analysis, which included 280 participants from the United States, the researchers found greater fast-food concentration in one’s neighborhood was associated with reduced savoring of emotional responses to enjoyable experiences.

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Your Religion Might As Well Be Football

The 12th Man Never DiesAhhh Football season. The crisp feel of fall winds and the sound of drunkenness in the afternoon. There is absolutely nothing more distinctly and disturbingly American than football culture. So, you get a bunch of dudes who may or may not drink very often incredibly drunk in the middle of the afternoon. If their team wins, they get increasingly wasted and elated. If they lose they get dangerously sauced and pissed off. Yeah, that’s gonna end well for the kids.

Don’t fool yourself. Football (or any sport for that matter) wouldn’t exist in its insanely bloated capacity if weed and hallucinogens weren’t outlawed back in the day. People would probably be more into fucking and playing the electro delay sitar. Maybe there’d be porno sitar players. I don’t know. What I do know is that alcohol is legal and because of that, football culture is fucking PERFECT. You work a dumbshit job all day but hell, it’s all worth it because on the weekend you get to throw back drink after drink and yell at people who could kick the living crap out of you.… Read the rest

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The Inventor Of Mothers’ Day Later Tried To Have It Abolished Due To Its Commercialization

founder of mothers' dayMental Floss on Anna Jarvis, founder of Mothers’ Day, who later tried have the holiday destroyed:

Jarvis soon soured on the commercial interests associated with the day. She wanted Mother’s Day “to be a day of sentiment, not profit.” Beginning around 1920, she urged people to stop buying flowers and other gifts for their mothers, and she turned against her former commercial supporters. She referred to the florists, greeting card manufacturers and the confectionery industry as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.”

She attempted to stop the floral industry by threatening to file lawsuits and by applying to trademark the carnation together with the words “Mother’s Day,” though she was denied the trademark.

Jarvis’s ideal observance of Mother’s Day would be a visit home or writing a long letter to your mother. She couldn’t stand those who sold and used greeting cards: “Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card.”

In one of her last appearances in public, Jarvis was seen going door-to-door in Philadelphia, asking for signatures on a petition to rescind Mother’s Day.

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A Creepy Bank Advertisement Featuring Celebrity Athlete Spokespeople

An eerie and fascinating commercial of the moment from European banking and mortgage giant Santander acknowledges how corporate messages have become a deluge pervading our lives. There is no resistance. Via Potlatch:
It is one of the most unsettling pieces of film that I've ever seen, reducing advertising to a set of blank and bland facts, to be recited out of the mouths of an apparently arbitrary collection of sports stars. What are the celebrities doing in other people's houses? The ordinary people, trying to go about their days in peace and privacy, exude a sad resignation that capitalism now drops (real? hallucinatory?) celebrities into their bathrooms and kitchens, to talk at them uninvited. Is this a warning of some kind?
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