This phrase has come out of my mouth more times than you would even think is possible. It’s not always about the same thing, in fact, it’s almost always about the newest, greatest, cutest, best “something.” The current “need” in my life is a pair of Sperry’s. I have to have them. Why? Well, because I have wanted them for a long time, so they have evolved into a need and because a girl can never have too many shoes! So what’s the problem? The problem is: I’m in college, I have no job, and could, in no way, justify buying an eighty dollar pair of shoes.
What am I supposed to do? I have to have these shoes. I was recently talking with a friend about how much I enjoy spending money and buying things, but I really am not in any position to be doing so. If I had a job, maybe I could make a case for why it was a good idea to buy the shoes, but I don’t.
Now that I’ve admitted I have a love for shopping, think about how often people (myself included) say they can’t afford things. I tell people I can’t afford my books for class or gas for the car, but somehow I can still afford to go out with my friends for dinner every once in a while. What are the people who can’t even afford groceries for their families doing? I complain about not having the shoes I want, but there are people who really have things they have to have that they can’t afford.
Being an advertising major makes me look at the retail world in a whole different way. Would people be as broke as they are without the advertising industry? I can’t blame all the economic problems on advertising (after all, it is what I’m going to be doing in less than a year), but advertising is in the game of turning people’s wants into needs. An article we read for class last week talked about people who were interviewed while shopping at various malls. There were pictures of these people with armfuls of shopping bags along with a speech bubble saying things like, “Our family is cutting back because we can’t afford what we once could.” or “I buy generic groceries so I can still splurge on clothes and accessories.” It seems like we all realize shopping trips should be few and far between, but our actions don’t reflect that. It’s the norm to buy things to feel like we’re part of modern society. Who made these rules about spending more to fit in?
Hello, materialism. You’re welcome to leave at any time because you’re making a serious impact on my wallet and it’s cramping my style.