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Materialistic America Essay

Unfortunately, the American dream is becoming more and more materialistic. I guess it was always a bit materialistic, but when I look at America today, I see a nation obsessed with shopping and buying unnecessary products. Previously, people aspired to have a nice house in the suburbs with a couple of cars, the big SUV, the Costco member ship and the greener grass. Now, there is no end to the products that people want: the latest I Phone, expensive cars, and designer purses, the list is endless. The American dream revolves around luxury goods for most people. Shopping is not a problem on its own; it’s the obsessive accumulation of unnecessary products, along with the hope that buying a Michael Kohrs bag will somehow make you happier that is problematic. People are obsessed with material goods. We’re bombarded with ads telling us how a certain car shoe, phone, soft drink will make us happier, cooler and more fulfilled.

Outlet stores that sell mass amounts of products for low prices, such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco have made such an impact on the American way of life. As Fishman stated, “Wal-Mart priced it at $2.97 – a year’s supply of pickles for less than $3! “They were using it as a ‘statment’ item,” says Pat Hunn, who calls himself the “mad scientist” of Vlasic’s gallon jar. “Wal-Mart was putting it before consumers, saying, this represents what Wal-Mart’s about. You can buy a stinking gallon of pickles for $2.97. And it’s the nations number-one brand” (Para 2.)

This is what these mega surplus stores can be all about sometimes. Did you really need 10 lbs of nacho cheese for $2.99, or did you just buy it because it was cheap and on sale? I see advertisement pushing American Consumers to buy big and save big, even if it increases their waistline. As Ruskin and Schor stated, “Soda, candy and fast food companies soon learned Channel One’s lesson of using financial incentives to gain access to schoolchildren” (Para 7.) The staggering affects of such advertising, super sized products and mass quantities have included a decline in the general health of the average American.

Ruskin and Schor stated, “Perhaps most alarming has been the epidemic of marketing related diseases afflicting people in the United States, and especially children, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and smoking related illnesses.” (Para 19) Commercial advertising and product placement have impacted America rather negatively. The mass produced items and in large bulk, for a low price have driven our quality of life down the drain. Wal-Mart’s are being built in small rural areas and running the “Mom & Pop” shops out of business. The small town and simple way of life is no more once a Wal-Mart moves into town. Fisher stated, “The public image Wal-Mart projects may be as cheery as its yellow smiley face mascot, but there is nothing genial about the process by which Wal-Mart gets its suppliers to provide tires and contact lenses, gun and underarm deodorant at everyday low prices. (Para 31.)

The article “The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know” is an eye opener for most of the American society that heavily indulges in consumerism. The constant pressure imparted by consumers to seek the cheapest products has led to the destruction of manufacturing units in the USA. Charles Fishman has not presented Wal-Mart’s point of view for each of the stories. But he has convincingly persuaded us to accept the negative impact of Wal-Mart’s quest to drive prices lower. This article opens up a serious debate on how far the American consumers can push their retailer to seek cheaper prices which eventually would lead to their job losses.

America has grown to be accustomed to the finer things in life and paying a lower cost for them. Is Wal-Mart eroding our quality of life? Wal-Mart is taking away American jobs to decrease inflation and send the jobs overseas for less than minimum wage. It’s almost to the point where were shopping ourselves out of a job, you can’t shop if your unemployed. The low prices are convent for low income shoppers, but in my opinion we wouldn’t have low income shoppers if we tried to create more jobs here in the U.S. , so why not start with Wal-Mart first? “Wal-Mart projected sales have taken a hit twice in the last 10 quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The last time was four quarters ago.” (Para 9.) With Wal-Mart’s sales not doing as well as they expected it has put Wal-Mart in a financial insecurity with
worries of what their future sales could be like within our economy at this moment in time. “The early arrival of holiday goods is throwing off shoppers such as Troy Hollar, who regularly shops at Wal-Mart. The biggest question I have is, how can they put out this stuff two months early and they can’t even have regular stuff out? Hollar said.” I personally started to scratch my head when I recently went into a Wal-Mart and saw Christmas items out on display, along with Thanksgiving and Halloween. I’m thinking to myself, well the only one their missing now, is New Years and chuckle to myself.

I don’t know what the strategy behind that ordering and display was, but I can say it’s not a very valid option if their out to get the most money out of their sales on seasonal items. Customers may think, well it’ll just on sale in a few weeks and I’ll still have time to buy it well before the holiday. Projected sales have not been what Wal-Mart has expected and average Americans are not spending as freely as they once were. Everyone is trying to save money wherever they can for their families, buying meal deals, discounted meat, produce or bakery items, clipping coupons and buying coupons online are just a few examples of what people are doing today to save that extra dollar.

Works Cited
1. Ackley, Katherine Anne. Perspectives on Contemporary issues: Reading Across the Disciplines. 6th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 2. Dudley, Renee. “Walmart trying to trim inventory” San Antonio Express News And MYSA.COM 3. Fishman, Charles. “The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know.” Perspectives on Contemporary issues: Reading Across the Disciplines. 6th Edition. Katherine Anne Ackley. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. Pg’s (532-542.) Print 4. Ruskin, Gary and Juliet Schor. “Every Nook and Cranny: The Dangerous Spread of Commercialized Culture”. Perspectives on Contemporary issues: Reading Across the Disciplines. 6th Edition. Katherine Anne Ackley. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. Pg’s (491-496.) Print

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