Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today are expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats, his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.
These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption.
–Victor Lebow circa 1955
While it is still debated whether Victor Lebow was encouraging conspicuous consumption or acknowledging its presence among U.S. consumers, I think everyone agrees this quote rings true for our society today. It is scary that this is what the holidays and our lives in general have become for most of us, consuming more to get social acceptance and prestige.
I am a big believer in buying what you need, not want you want; but I am also a realist. People love to buy and receive over the holiday season. While I encourage everyone to think creatively about how they can give without giving more stuff, if you are going to buy, please support companies that are doing more than just trying to pad the wallets of wealthy individuals. Think about spending your dollars with companies that not only want to make a profit, but also help the environment and society.
Atayne has partnered with 20 other B Corps to offer some great products from some great companies at great discounts! I invite you to explore our fellow B Corp friends and check out all the special offers. If you see the perfect gift for that special someone, please lend your support.
Yes, it is still consuming, but at least you are promoting your values and not your need for prestige.