Consumerism fail

Stumbled across this today and for some reason it’s really pissing me off.
What kind of society are we where the message “You must get your wife/girlfriend/prospect diamond jewelry for the holidays/her birthday/an anniversary or she will be upset with you and hate you and exile you” is an acceptable one?
Are Americans really so materialistic that there are people out there who expect jewelry (cost being irrelevant here) or even any gift at all on holidays and would be upset at not receiving anything?

If you watch the video, there’s a guy that got thrown in “the doghouse” for giving his wife a gift of RAM with a note, “Thanks for the memories.” This is a far better gift than jewelry… not only is it cute and punny, but it’s likely he also noticed her complaining about her computer’s performance and wanted to improve it. It’s thoughtful.
What about the guy who got his wife an abmaster? His speech seemed to indicate that he had listened to the fact that she was worried about her weight/size and wanted to help her out. Perhaps his speech itself was overdoing it, but the gift itself was thoughtful.
What about the main character? He got his wife a very practical gift: a vacuum cleaner. Maybe she’s been complaining about the performance of her old one. Maybe the old one broke.
These are all gifts that I personally would be happy to receive, and that anyone I would consider dating would likewise have to be happy to receive… because it’s not the gift, but rather the fact that they got you something that isn’t a horribly generic gift means that they took the time to think about you and what you mean to them.

I don’t know. I understand that it’s just a stupid marketing message for JCPenny, but I still think it’s disgusting. This past Christmas, I didn’t ask for anything and didn’t want anything. I got some gifts for people because I came across them and thought of them, and only chose Christmas as the distribution time for convenience sake. The best parts of my recent birthdays have been spending time with friends/loved ones… indeed, most of the last few have been devoid of gifts (the last one involved a few small gifts, but meant a lot primarily due to the effort involved and the thoughtfulness of it, the hand-baked cake waiting at one portion, and the person waiting at the end). It bothers me that there are people out there who can’t be content with this and insist on materialistic things instead*.

*Except for kids, who may be too young to appreciate the time spent with family over the shiny new fire truck. But kids should be taught to appreciate sentiment and thoughtfulness over the material object, and in general to appreciate people more than things, so this should disappear as they grow up.

5 thoughts on “Consumerism fail

  1. I like that the men’s punishment is to fold laundry, one of the few ways you can help around the house if you’re completely unskilled with housework. I suppose the appropriate punishment for being thoughtful is being expected to be even more thoughtful.

  2. Wow, I couldn’t get the video to work, but that is awful! I completely agree. Okay,the abmaster is a bit discus but that’s just because situps are a way less expensive way to build abs, and the gift seems a bit impractical. But you can really make the vacuum cleaner is a perfect gift if you also start doing some of the vacuuming as well. And nice RAM could easily be more expensive than a diamond and potentially the most practical gift of them all.

    Society makes me sad. I understand that the luxury goods businesses may be hurting, but for good reason.

  3. The RAM is passable (especially because it was given with a cute note). I bought a computer so I can’t really argue.

    The abmaster is what I would describe as “fail”. Rule #1: you do not not not not _not_ under any circumstances _ever_ do anything that sends your wife the message “you need to lose weight”. _Ever_. Be supportive of her efforts to lose weight and get in shape. Get up at o’dark thirty to exercise with her. Whatever. But do not actively do anything that suggests you think she needs to lose weight. This is…_unwise_.

    And the vacuum cleaner…eh. It’s one thing to get that sort of gift from parents or friends or whatever; in that case I definitely agree that it’s nice to get something practical. My parents got me a microwave and (modulo the fact that I don’t really have a place to put it) and I am very happy about it because it substantially improves my quality of life.
    But getting a gift like that from your spouse? I think of a vacuum cleaner as “this is a household item that we as a household should go out and purchase.” Getting your wife a vacuum cleaner is nice in the “hey I made your life easier way” but it feels like something that you should have bloody well bought as a basic item rather than as a gift. This probably depends on finances and stuff.
    Depending on the relationship, it may also reek a bit of implied gender roles XD

    I do agree with the sentiment, though.

  4. I dunno. I think it’s psychological viral marketing warfare, where they want you to think that the advertised message is actually a reflection of real-life conditions because there isn’t a big JC Penny logo in front that screams “I’M AN AD, TAKE EVERYTHING I SAY WITH A GRAIN OF SALT!”
    And diamond companies are one of the worst examples of manufactured tradition and perceptions. They’ve successfully created the idea that these things are rare and meaningful.
    So I wouldn’t take one industry’s advertising as a sign of something wrong with society as a whole. I think there are plenty of healthy families that recognize the priceless value of time spent together and such.

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