Oh yes! Please….?

Ohm Sweet Ohm

I have read a lot of posts on Facebook and WordPress about a possible consumer boycott of WalMart and other Big Box retailers this coming Friday (Black Friday) and it has motivated me to search the web to see what alternatives are out there. I think that if you are going to take away something, in this case shopping, it helps to have something else to fill the void that it created. Haven’t we always been told that “nature abhors a vacuum”?

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17 thoughts on “

  1. I am glad to report that my modern kids do the outdoor, imaginative play thing. My daughter hangs out in a tree much of the time. She has rigged up ropes and takes books up there. Their summers are spent surfing or hiking. Just saying, there are still some ‘old-fashioned’ kids out there. 🙂

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    • Out here there are kids who go out and work in the hay fields and there are still the Future Farmers of America, raising their animals and showing them at the county Fair, but then there are far too many who seem to do nothing but obsessed with their video games and such. I suppose I don’t have much room to talk for all the time I spend on the computer 😉

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  2. Love the video. I wish that the kids of today could experience the joy of just being children……… playing outside in the parks, fields, country lanes, and even their own back yards, just as my sister and I and our friends enjoyed doing, many years ago. That’s what being a child is all about, I believe that today’s children are the biggest and most vulnerable targets of today’s advertising. So sad. 😦

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    • Had to chuckle at your use of “biggest”… targets because it brings the obesity epidemic to mind…. yet one more thing that could be connected to the rampant consumerism. Sadly, there is no going back. I happen to like my toys as much as the next. Pushing back a bit seems like a good idea, though it couldn’t possibly make a dent against the commercials we no longer can avoid.

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  3. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the anti-consumerism sentiment (even as I get notification on my cell phone about responses which I then go on my laptop to answer). The problem is, one day does not a society make, nor a problem solve.

    As a matter of fact, I don’t partake in the mob scene. But I also no longer live from paycheck to paycheck, I don’t have kids, and have already learned a number of lessons about life.

    I could sit here and pontificate on such lessons, but, except for the having kids part, I was there once. Spending my time in line, wanting to get a deal, feeling the pressures of society as to what I should have, and not have . . . all part of the life we live. The thing is, I knew it was bull-droppings, but it did not seem that big a deal back then. It’s all good and well to now wish it were different, but we both know that’s not how it works.

    Plus, there are people who plan on those events not out of necessity, but because they genuinely enjoy the “hunt” for the bargain. The event itself is the thing, not the prize they might walk away with. Should we judge them so harshly?

    For that matter, what better things could I be doing for those I love, or to help society in general, than spending time on my blog, or answering this comment? Everyone has a tendency to rationalize their choices, but they never see it as such. I could go for a walk right now, enjoying fresh air, perhaps walking over to the cemetery down the street, pondering of lives that went before me, getting some exercise.

    There are aspects of that video I could argue, but can’t be bothered to do so. People have their own ideas of what kids should and should not have, the kind of lives they should live, and I find most just don’t remember being kids. We, as adults, tend to have idealized visions of what it should be like to be a kid, typically based on things we learn after we are adults. I generally don’t agree with them, but I don’t have a problem with the sentiment.

    The call for a boycott goes beyond that, and has real consequences.

    I don’t have the answer on how we change things we see as destructive (if we could even agree on what they are), but my suggestion would be to not start in a way that does actual harm to others.

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  4. Years ago I was a real estate appraiser, going into people’s houses to evaluate value so they could get a home equity line of credit or refinance their mortgage, as well as new home purchases. One of my private agendas was to see how many books versus how many televisions were in each house. (Another was to see what other parents did with the huge stacks of papers that came home from elementary school). While some houses had books, most had none and tvs won. Some houses had one in each room, including the bathroom. So today not only does the idiot box keep people from thinking but the gaming systems draw in kids from toddlerhood. Emilio, you are right, the people who willingly work the Christmas shopping rush are happy for those jobs, but they themselves are also drawn in. I just finished my shopping for 2 Angel Tree siblings. While this year the mom kept the list to 2 toys and a winter coat and boots, in prior years I had a list that included a bedroom suite as well as major shoot ’em up video games. The desire for consumerism happens at all socio-economic levels.

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    • Interestingly, electronic readers have been credited with getting kids to read more. And blogs and social sites have been credited with kids writing more (whereas they would seldom write an actual letter).

      The world is changing, and it may be a mistake to assume all changes are for the worse.

      As for consumerism, that too will change. I see less evidence for it in automobiles, for instance. People used to change cars every few years. Now, not so much. Now it’s the iPhone.

      But is it consumerism? Hard to argue the iPhone is anything but “neat”. It can also be educational, trigger creativeness, innovation, and engage people in new activities linking people from cultures around the world.

      And I got to tell you . . . whenever I see a kid with a smart phone, I think how amazing it would have been for me to have something similar when I was young. The world at my fingertips. I’m not sure that’s all consumerism, or that it’s even bad. Sure, a whole generation of people is being set up to have neck problems, but I wager for that, too, there will be an app.

      And those games? There are studies that show positive influences of gaming. Sure, at the extremes, everything is bad. Even nature. Taking your kids to live in a tent in the middle of nowhere would end up both endangering the kids, and having them grow up lacking skills necessary for today’s functioning adults.

      One more thing . . . desire and consumerism does not “happen”. Perhaps the key is to shield the adults from it all.

      Anyway, interesting discussion. I will now go and put on my disposable contacts (because my doctor says the monthly contacts are bad for my eyes), shave with my disposable razor, then I will use an electric water heater to boil water for tea as opposed to heating water on a pan on my stove that makes fire on demand. Then I will toast some bread, and while I eat it, check the photos on my expensive camera, probably while listening to music from my iTouch.

      I will call my wife from my Droid phone, too lazy to reach over for the portable phone a few feet away. Then I will log on to check the weather outside, instead of walking out onto the porch. I already know I have no interest to moving my carcass outdoor, so it’s more information gathering than in preparation for anything.

      But first, I have to pry myself away from these discussion. Sure, they are a waste of time (one’s opinions are just that . . . other people have their own), but you know, there is some satisfaction to putting them down for posterity’s amusement. Sort of like finding a great deal on-line. After all, who wants to go and rub elbows with all them other shoppers when one can just point and click, wait a day or two, and have a man in a brown uniform (or white and blue uniform) drop off an oversize package containing a du-dah that will get all of two-three minutes of attention and then sit at the corner of the desk, unused, like a prize?

      Life . . . sometimes it’s just plain wonderful.

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  5. In a society where the shareholder is king and the bottom line is everything, we’re not going to have a world to enjoy for too much longer. Couldn’t agree with your comments more Gunta. Good reblog.

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    • Thanks, Chilly. I think rampant consumerism is just plain wrong, just so the six Walton heirs (owners of WalMart) can add to their net worth equal to the bottom 40% of US families without paying their workers a living wage.

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  6. I posted this comment at the site linked above. It’s waiting moderation. Don’t know if it will fly there, so I’ll post it here as well:

    Why is it I am always the one that ends up contrarian? The jerk jerk in the bunch? Well, it’s a mantle I proudly wear.

    You know the families that should spend time with each other? It is a sad truth many depend on Black Friday.

    Let’s remember why it is called Black Friday. It’s often the day of the year when businesses finally turn a profit. During those times they hire thousand of people as temporary help, retaining many of them through the holidays, and a few beyond.

    There are many people who would be incredibly grateful to be able to take the place of those who are bitching about working holidays. They are the ones without jobs, whose forced time with their families is not a joy, but a painful reminder of their inability to bring home a check.

    Like it or not, we are a consumer society. Boycotting a business, any business, is ultimately going to hurt the workers of that business. They are businesses, not charity.

    So, sure . . . spend time with the family. Don’t shop. Boycott this or that business. And take some of that money you saved, and donate it to the food banks, food kitchens, and other relief agencies.

    . . . they are going to need it.

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    • Because Emilio, you are a contrarian curmudgeon and if you wear it so proudly then what’s your complaint?
      I don’t know or have the answers to all the problems, but I sure don’t think the mob scenes over the latest flat screen are an answer. Trying to find an alternative to being a consumer society sounds like a far better objective to me than encouraging everyone to go out and shop. Many of those working poor might be where they are because they shopped too much at the Big Box stores. I never saved a dime in one of them places because they are masters at enticing you to buy crap that ends up in the landfill before the junk has been paid off on the credit cards.

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