Friday, 6 February 2009

If You Buy This Your Life Will Be Better

A line from a song from The Tamperer from 1998. Not their best know hit for sure, but a line that perfectly sums up this blog. You see, as I get older (and I’m 45 now) I find myself more and more irritated and annoyed by ridiculous advertising and pointless products.

But it runs far deeper than that, through the core of modern living and our society. It seems we are getting more and more obsessed with buying things. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not an eco warrior, I have car, a flat screen TV and a computer, it's just that our society seems to me to becoming increasingly preoccupied with shopping without really knowing why and not really needing what we are buying!

Let me give you an example of what I mean. When I was a child my mother would go to the supermarket and buy washing powder, she nearly always bought the same brand, Persil Automatic except maybe if she had some items that couldn’t go in the machine in which case she would buy non-automatic. And it got the clothes clean.

Now days the washing powder takes up nearly half an isle in the supermarket (and the supermarket these days are much larger). There is biological powder, non-biologic powder, liquid, concentrated liquid, tables, liquid-tabs, powder for whites, powder for coloured, powder for delicates. And that’s just the washing powder.

There are stain removers (I thought that was the point of using washing powder), whiteners, colour protectors, fabric softeners in a range of formats, colours, fragrances, fabric softeners for the tumble dryer, tables to protect your washing machine from the effects of aging….it goes on and on.

And the advertising spin used to try and get us to buy these products seems to me to get more and more ridiculous. Comfort fabric softener currently has a “flavour” called “Sunshine”. What on earth does that mean, will my clothes radiate sunshine, smell like sunshine or feel like sunshine. None of the above.

Does all the stuff work, mostly not very much. Does it matter, well Yes, actually I think it does, for two important reasons.

We all seems to be trapped in this descending vortex, working more, to earn more money so they can buy more, but why? Does money make you happy, well up to a point, yes it helps, does more money make you happier, no, I don’t think so. Spending all the hours god sends during the week working so you can spend the weekend shopping and resting in preparation for Monday and starting all over again may bring you a top of the range car, but overall is your life better for it?

And the other issue with this apparent never ending cycle is there is an end in sight, this planets resources are not infinite, the end of oil is in sight, and with other major world populations such as India and China enthusiastically throwing themselves into the vortex of consumerism surely other materials are surely soon to become endangered.

I’d like to discuss these issues further in this blog, I hope you’ll join me.

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