Posted by: Asmodeus | December 20, 2007

Christmas, Brought To You By Walmart

So, I guess by now everyone is well aware of how consumer driven society has become, and the evidence is made even clearer during the holiday season. Christmas has become a sponsored event, really. Every store is trying to squeezed that last dollar out of you and they want you to “shop ’til you drop”. To that end, they stay open virtually 24/7 up until the 25th, and kick start your holiday brain by playing holiday music a full 2 MONTHS before the actual holiday! It’s quite dizzying!

I watch the mall frenzy with a mixture of alarm and amusement and often wonder why everyone seems so much in a panic. I notice it’s like that just before a storm as well, as if you are going to really starve if you are unable to get to a store in 2 or 3 days! People act as though that HAVE to buy something. They are programmed to spend, and in a way, this is somewhat true. We are raised to believe the measure of our success is in what we have. That being in our subconcious thoughts has lead us to WANT more, and we showcase this belief during the holiday season. It’s no longer about whether or not we believe in a religious basis for the holiday, but more so a chance for us to show off that new i-whatever gadget to our friends. The bigger and more expensive the presents, the better the holiday!

For those of you who love a good government conspiracy theory, there is an excellent website with a video illustrating the history of our voracious consumer appetite. According to this video, we have been programmed to consume goods at an ever increasing rate by a collaborative effort between big business and the government as a way to feed the economy for the past 50 years. Things are now purposely made to break down within a year or two so that you have to go out and buy a new one. I read all the horror stories about iPods and other gadgets that people had received as Christmas gifts that broke before the following Christmas had even come around, leaving people to get them as gifts again just in time for the next holiday.

I remember when a big appliance like a washer and dryer would be warranted to last 25 years or more. Now they ask you if you want to buy an extended warranty past a year or two. That doesn’t say much about the products you pay big money for. Even houses are now made out of cheap pressboard material that is made to fall apart after 25 years, or less. Imagine locking into a mortgage for a house for 25 years (the average mortgage length) and, after paying for it, with interest, for most of your adult life, the place starts going to pieces. I’ve seen some houses just built a few years ago in the 1990’s already rotting out, yet my house is a 200 year old country house still standing because it’s made out of REAL wood! Look at how many old antique tools and such from over 100 years ago are still usable.

Same thing with cars. I have a 1954 Chevy Bel Air that was been abandoned for the past 50 years out in my field, yet the chrome is like new and the body, while rusty, is still solid. If that were a new car it would disintegrate into dust within a few years if left out in a grassy field. It takes an average of 4-5 years for most people to finish paying off a new car, but instead of having a few years to enjoy their purchase, the average new car falls apart just after its paid for. If you look into it you’ll find that most consumer products are like that. They break down right after they are paid for or the warranty runs out. Nothing is made to last anymore.

We have Walmart to thank for that trend. They started the push toward cheap, disposable consumer goods. You can read more on that here…

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Ah, time for me to go fix some things….

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