The Frankenstein Monster of Consumerism
I realize I am deviating from my normal blogging about writing books but bear with me….
Consumerism created the Customer. Fed by the ever-changing world of advertising we are courted, pleaded with, prodded and bombarded with endless promises. Each product touted to be the best-ever cure-all, big fix to any problem we have, all in the name of the great god of Money.
In return, Money created a monster that has a ravenous appetite with the mindset of a spoiled brat.
Now I must admit I am one of those brats.
Note that forty years seems like a long time, though compared to geological time, it is but a Nanosecond. But a long time ago, I could buy a product, bring it home, plug it in, turn it on, and it would work. In fact, there was no instruction manual. Then, I would have the luxury of not having to buy another one for a long time. Of course, the better the product, the longer it lasted, making the company that made it have to find something else to do in the meantime to make money, like service it when and if it broke down.
Times change just like seasons.
Now, it’s about the number of sales versus quality.
Take, for instance, a wireless printer. I have a perfectly good printer, by the same company, that works well when I plug it into my computer. But I’m getting lazy in my old age because I’m constantly being shown new ways of saving time to be able to go bask in the sun on the beach. So, I brought home my shiny new toy and spent the next two hours trying to make it work, as promised. I tried installing apps on phone and computer. Downloaded instructions until I was blue in the face. The printer itself printed well, but all it would print was instructions on how to connect to the internet and supposedly anything else that had a Wifi brain. Nothing worked. Like the brat I’ve become, I took it back to the store in a huff.
So first, I would like to point out as a writer, I have learned through many grammar checking programs that the average reading level in our country is 7th grade. Last time I checked you had to have a degree to work on computer programming in order to create programs. I highly suspect these technicians read, or think, above a 7th-grade level. So, they are basically trying to get mice to run a maze to get the cheese. We are overfed, obese rats. We give up when it gets hard. Please come down to our level.
Second, at my age, you recognize after scurrying through the world these many years, the most valuable commodity you have is TIME. Yup, it is more precious than money. I get upset when I waste my time on the next new and shiny gadget after receiving promises of it making my life easy. Yup, Frankenstein temper tantrum.
Third, I sadly realize we did it to ourselves. In our greed and laziness, the first thing we sacrificed to the god of Money, was SERVICE. When the smarter rats discovered how easy it was to legally rob us of our hard-earned cash, they, being the smarter rats, learned how to cut corners. The first thing to go was service. Self Service was invented and the cheese that tempted us? Cheaper product.
Now we build our own furniture, fill our own cars with gas, check ourselves out at stores, guide ourselves with voices from little boxes, and must have several degrees to run anything electronic. We have been trained by faster and faster internet services to expect instantaneous answers as well as the immediate delivery of any product we want. Heaven forbid we have a natural disaster because we have lost the knowledge of basic survival.
Advertising has lost its charm and magic. With the sensory overload of constant advertising, we have become numb to it, where now the only thing that sparks our interest is a good drama, whether it be YouTube or Facebook, or politics, or accidents on the road, or even disaster, we are jaded to consumerism and advertising. Until we get something that doesn’t hold up to its advertised promise, then we become little dictators demanding our money be returned.
We stomped through the village and wrecked the environment, greedily grabbed all we could, and scared away customer service so it hides behind little chatbots on every product site and conceals any method of human contact that could answer your questions. The Wizard behind the curtain continues to tell us not to look and to just take our rotten forbidden fruit and be happy with it.
Sigh. I want to go back to simpler days where I had to make my own weapons, chase down my food which in turn kept me fit and I could cook it the way I liked it.