It’s that time of year again. The bells are jingling and the registers are ring-ting-tingling, too. Black Friday has come and gone, and Cyber Monday orders are in the mail. Now we’re wasting time in parking-lot traffic jams and long checkout lines, all the while trying to maintain our holiday cheer.
The National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend $474.5 billion this holiday season. That’s up 4 percent from last year’s whopping $456.2 billion spent on clothes, video games, and hot tech toys.
Do we really need to repeat history? Recent tradition, supported by plenty of well-crafted holiday advertisements, says “Yes.”
Our current state of consumer mania — our manufactured wants, must-haves and can’t-live-withouts — was born during the post-World War II era, when our country was trying to rebuild its economy. The best strategy, according to retail analyst Victor Lebow, was to make consumption a way of life. And boy, have we ever!
What began as a strategy to improve the American economy, however, has become an American way of life. Our stuff demonstrates our self-worth, and shopping ma... Read more