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Mass Consumerism is a Disease

Mass Consumerism is a Disease

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Last Updated on April 2, 2020

I know I promised a dessert recipe today, but we’ve been talking a lot about Thanksgiving. I’m sure by now you know it’s my favorite holiday. All the while, I’ve been ignoring my least favorite holiday – Black Friday. 

Picture from travelerstoday.com

An entire day devoted to consumerism. Let that sink in. It’s devoted to stuff. If every other holiday wasn’t already about stuff, you now have a holiday that’s not even masquerading under the guise of another reason. It’s about stuff. 

America doesn’t have a national religion. But, if it did – it’d be consumerism. 

I have never participated in the Black Friday madness, and I never will. It’s shocking to me that we spend the day or even month being thankful for what we have then we cut dinner short to run out and buy new stuff. We bum-rush stores, rip things out of peoples hands, push and shove, and wait in line for hours for things we probably don’t need. 

I want to be clear. There’s nothing wrong with consumption. We will always need to consume goods. But, there is a problem with mass consumerism. And, it’s an even larger problem that our economy hinges on us buying more and more and more and more without ever examining who suffers. Spoiler: it’s you, me, production, and the economy. 

In order to keep consumer rates high, we have driven down prices by making cheaper and cheaper products. We have cut jobs, and outsourced all of the production to keep labor costs at an all time low. We make goods that break easily that need to consistently be replaced. We are bombarded with lies, “If you have this, you’ll be happy,” “If you you obtain this, you’ll get the girl,” “If you buy this, you’ll be beautiful.” 

And, it’s never enough. 

We have lost all connection with who makes our food, who makes our goods, who we’re buying from, and how it was created. We have no idea how this product arrived, and it’s a huge problem.  We need to start thinking about how it got here and where it’s going after you’re finished with it. Think beyond the present. Think beyond that Black Friday sale. 

Unfortunately, society today has made it almost impossible to know who’s behind your products. Shop locally as much as possible. Buy used when you can, and look to companies who are completely transparent about what you’re buying.

Look at buying quality over quantity. Focus on things that will last. How many of your kids really need more toys? How many of you really need more clothes? How many of you really need a larger TV? How many of you really need cheap stuff, manufactured on slave labor,  used to line the pockets of greedy CEO’s? 

I’m not saying everything you buy is bad. I just want you to think about what you’re buying. I don’t want you to mindlessly consume: to constantly be looking to upgrade, to consistently work to only be able to keep your head above water in our consumerist society, to feel like you have to keep up. That you have to buy the nicest car, the biggest house, to have newest game system, to have the nicest watch – whatever it is. Stuff doesn’t rule your life. No matter what message is blasted in your face – it doesn’t define your value

Ask yourself, is it worth it? Is your consumption worth it? Are you happy? Does it make you happy? 

I’ll be coming out with several zero waste Christmas lists and ideas; because, I hate it when someone presents a problem with no solution. 

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  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I am often frustrated by mass consumerism. I decided to do a shopping ban from the beginning of November to January 1 to just personally take a little stand against it and get the focus off self and things and hopefully onto others.:)

  2. I feel like such a hypocrite sometimes. I LOVE shopping but I hate excess. I know my personality and own it. The difference is, since becoming zero waste, I’ve shifted my priorities. I stick to lists. I spent the whole weekend shopping for a job interview. I tried on tons of clothes that looked good on me or fit me. But then I think, "Did I come in for a little black dress? No." And I re-focus to the task on hand. This new shift has helped me avoid the temptations of sales and Black Friday 🙂

    1. This is where grocery shopping comes in handy. When I was addicted to shopping, I helped ween myself off by grocery shopping. I was buying stuff I really needed. And, helped me feel like I was splurging.

  3. I am so VERY proud of you! You have figured out something, that most people have to wait a LIFETIME to DISCOVER ? ILY

  4. THANK YOU! I honestly don’t understand who came up with the idea of Black Friday the DAY after a holiday celebrating thanks and appreciation for what we have. I’ve noticed more and more people stand up to Black Friday in recent years for this reason. Let’s hope the trend of actually celebrating Thanksgiving by disregarding Black Friday continues!

    1. Originally it was a day to kick off the holiday season. It’s morphed into this crazy thing. But, yes, I’m so glad to see more people boycott it. Hopefully the trend continues until it’s extinct.

  5. thank you for speaking your heart! as a society we feel deprived, yet we buy more stuff in a day than some villages in other parts of the country in a year! and yet we become more impoverished in certain ways…

  6. Wow!
    This is a truly inspiring and timely concern that we must be watchful of, in society today.
    The goal should indeed be quality of the things we consume; more quality, more productivity, more SUSTAINABILITY!
    This is the core of sustainable practices and goals that we need to imbibe to move our society forward.
    Thank you so much for sharing!