“But even in the much-publicized rebellion of the young against the materialism of the affluent society, the consumer mentality is too often still intact: the standards of behavior are still those of kind and quantity, the security sought is still the security of numbers, and the chief motive is still the consumer’s anxiety that he is missing out on what is “in.” In this state of total consumerism – which is to say a state of helpless dependence on things and services and ideas and motives that we have forgotten how to provide ourselves – all meaningful contact between ourselves and the earth is broken. We do not understand the earth in terms either of what it offers us or of what it requires of us, and I think it is the rule that people inevitably destroy what they do not understand.” –
Wendell Berry, The Art of the Comonplace: The Agrarian Essays
REI, an outdoor retail chain just announced that its 143 stores will remain closed on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Furthermore, the Seattle-based company will be paying its 12,000 employees to not participate in black Friday, and spend the day outside instead.
“We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles.” – REI CEO Jerry Stritzke (source)
This refreshing to see, and one example of a company that’s taking a step that may help shift people’s perception regarding Black Friday, and consumerism in general. How many consumers do you think stop, take a step back and really think about what is going on here? Are our thoughts, wants and supposed needs even ours, or are they programmed into us by mass media, big corporations and marketing? What makes us want what we want, and why are we willing to trample over other people and do what ever it takes to get it? Why do so many people in the western world desire the same ‘stuff,’ and why are we so obsessed on filling our lives with material possessions? Why do we seem so desperate for material possessions? Is this what the human experience has become? A life of compliance, consumerism, and “following the herd” so to speak, without even realizing what our consumerism is really doing to the planet?
“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” – Noam Chomsky
While we engage in these activities, go to school, work, buy things, and try to provide for our families, many people don’t seem to question what is really happening in the world around them, and when they do, they simply just turn on the TV to a popular ‘news’ station, most of which don’t really provide any news/truth at all.
“Have we let ourselves to be led down the path of consumption manipulated into a society of ‘battery hen humans’ where governments, marketers, corporations and interest groups have been feeding us a steady diet of consumerism, laced with deceit, false hopes and non-sustainability?” – Andrew Martin (source)
Hopefully this article give you something to think about, thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
In this new film called Prosperity, you can learn the ways in which companies are changing the game in order to change our world. CE's founder Joe Martino is in this film talking about CE's business practices.