Can I just tell you that I hate when pundits call me a consumer? Last time I checked I was not a consumer but rather a person who happens to buy things once in a while. My sole purpose in life is not to buy enough stuff to prop up failing companies or line the pockets of some corporate big-whig. I buy what I need, when I need it, and then I work to save the rest of my money. But for some reason, the news likes to peg me as a consumer and run stories about “consumer confidence” – my supposed confidence in spending enough money to keep the economy going. However, that’s not what I was put on earth to do and I have worked pretty hard to escape that kind of mentality that seems to be the norm. I get up in the morning, I work for a living, and I buy the things necessary to my life – that does not make me a consumer but rather a human contributor to society. So please stop trying to make me responsible because I don’t buy enough stuff…
Shopping does not define who I am, nor do I enjoy being labeled as something other than what I actually am. If what I spent my money decided my fate in this world then yes, I suppose I would be a consumer. People spend their entire life buying things to try to make themselves whole; that too would probably designate them as a consumer. But uncontrolled consumerism leads to debt, broken marriages, bankruptcy filings, unhappy people and an unhappy society. By consuming non-stop, we deplete our natural resources, exchange future stability for immediate gratification, and leave us wanting more and more. This country (and others around the world, of course) designate entire days to buying things and spending money; the sole purpose of some of these days is for people to get up at 4am to buy stuff, whether needed of not. Doing that surely would make me a consumer, and I refuse to play that role.
It’s no surprise our economy is the way it is – we have been on spending spree of unheard proportions, from the biggest of the banks all the way down to the part-time, minimum wage worker. We have not been able to stop ourselves from gorging on “stuff” and we have allowed others to dictate what we are – consumers. Well, I for one am saying no – I am not a consumer, I am a person. Please stop labeling me as such.
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