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Consumerism And Me Essay

753 words - 4 pages

Within the last one-hundred years consumerism has changed drastically. Attributed to the advent of advertising and product branding, modern day consumerism has shifted from being primarily “need” based, to being “want-to-need” based throughout the western world. Luxuries like shoes, clothes and home electronics aren’t even thought of as luxuries anymore, but they have made their way over to the list of thing we “need” or “must have”. Reflecting back on the various essays we have read for class, has really made me evaluate what type of consumer I am and has definitely made me more aware of the trends that I follow.
In his essay “A Brand by Any Other Name”, author Douglas Rushkoff makes reference to a “phenomenon” known to retail architects as “Gruen Transfer,” a type of paralysis experienced while shopping (p.103). Simply put, it is the almost paralyzed state of trance that some people experience when trying to decide which product (i.e. shoes, clothes, electronics, etc.), best suits or represents them. In his essay, Rushkoff painted the picture of a boy in a shopping center, standing before a wall of shoes. He gives an almost exaggerated description of what the boy was thinking, but through his exaggeration, he provides true insight into the almost subconscious thought process that goes into choosing which products we as individuals consume. Though I had never really thought of my consumption of products as being a representation of who I am, seeing this picture so clearly painted, has caused me to draw a parallel to my life. I have come to realize that, as a consumer, though I hate to admit it, I allow material things that I buy to represent me. When I make purchases, I make them based on whatever trends I relate to, the designs that I find appealing and the “brand names” that best represent how I want to be perceived.
In his essay “On Sale at Old Navy: Cool Clothes for Identical Zombies”, author Damien Cave described the trend of product “branding” as being a trend toward conformity (p.113). Though his essay was mainly geared toward expressing his views on the retailers Old Navy, Ikea,...

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