Something to ponder before buying anything

quandaryDecember 30, 2007

Recently, I heard part of a Bill Moyers interview on PBS. I didn't catch the guy's name, but his message really hit home for me. He pointed out that corporations used to determine the wants and needs of consumers and manufactured things to fill those wants and needs. Now corporations focus on marketing techniques to convince consumers that we want and need the things that they produce. I believe that this shift has really impacted all of us and the way we live. It has also put the U.S. economy in a precarious position. 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending and if we only buy things we truly want or need, our economy would suffer.

This may not be a relevant topic for this forum, but I thought some of you might have the same Eureka moment I did.

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jannie

Yes, I get it. I remember when I was in college, taking a Marketing class. The main point then (30 years ago) was that advertisers use sex to sell things. Pretty girls, lots of cleavage, fast powerful cars,cigarettes that make you look cool with a piece of burning weed in your mouth,etc.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 11:26AM
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texanjana

I remember the same thing from my marketing classes in college. The scariest thing was the subliminal messages, particularly in the alcohol advertising. I have three teenagers, and I have tried to teach them from a young age about advertising and how companies use it to convince you that you need something.

It's amazing when you think about a purchase for a few days instead of impulse buying, you realize you didn't really need it in the first place!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 12:58PM
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iinsic

I think this is why internet retailers are becoming so successful. Internet retailing is based on ease and impulse...Look at that cool thing, and I can have it now! eBay especially, when you couple that impulse with the gambling-like adrenaline rush of winning an auction.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 8:14AM
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cearbhaill

Anyone with insomnia can speak to the effectiveness of late night infomercials. I sit there wondering how I've managed to live without a "____". Then the next day I wonder what was I thinking.

I try and stay aware of when I am being targeted marketing wise and avoid those products. Nobody needs the amounts of stuff we seem to accumulate.

A good resolution- to pay closer attention to what and why I am buying...

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 11:05AM
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trilobite

It has also put the U.S. economy in a precarious position. 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending and if we only buy things we truly want or need, our economy would suffer.

This is so important. There's something wrong with our worldview, where we measure achievement and a healthy economy by pursuit of "The Shiny".

And it pulls our values in the wrong direction. It shouldn't be about "new", it should be about quality of life, sustainability, thinking about what's going to be worthwhile for the generations to come.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 2:55PM
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Ideefixe

Not to quibble, and I agree with the basics of this post, but the phrase "70% of our economy is based on consumer spending" isn't true or accurate.

Personal consumption expenditures represent 70 percent of gross domestic product, but GDP only measures the value of final output. And of that consumer spending, housing expenses comprise the largest portion of spending, accounting for roughly one-third of the total.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoover Institution

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 4:11PM
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