Actually it’s, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” It is so close to Halloween that I have spooky thoughts in my head. Not a lot really, but a few so why not borrow from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, surely the Bard will not mind.
What is this wickedness that I speak of? Well, it is not actual wickedness per se, but I guess it’s my frustration with my own consumerism. I was thinking about the fact that in the world of cosmetics this is the big buy season. It’s the time that we gals stock up because we are getting discounts that we normally would not get and seeming surreal bundled goods. Cosmetic companies overwhelm us with a copious quantity of limited edition products with beautiful packaging. All of this is very seductive, and honestly I am like a crow, attracted to bright shiny objects and driven by the impulse to bring it back to my nest. In almost every other aspect of my life I can be logical and exhibit control over such impulses, but there is something about pretty things that draw me in and sparks an internal conflict of to buy or not to buy.
The truth is I don’t recall these discounts being offered several years ago. In fact the friends and family discount was something you could get only if you were friends or family of an employee, although it may just be something that happens in the U.S. Now I get e-mails about the sale with discount codes, sales girls call my home to invite me to parties where I need to spend a certain amount on things that I really wasn’t looking for. I don’t remember cosmetic lines launching multiple collections (I’m looking at you MAC) at almost the same time, if not then one after another at rapid fire speed. As a consumer it can be overwhelming when your e-mail seems to be inundated with promotional marketing of product launches. It’s almost to the point that I am so over-saturated with all this marketing that I don’t care anymore. Their intense marketing has created a disinterest, almost an annoyed reaction. To me this is terrible, make-up is something that I love, I love the color and I love playing with it, but it’s all just too much.
I’ve come to the point where I realize that marketing is just action taken to create interest in a product that I don’t need and may not even want. Think about it, very little marketing is done for the things that you need. You really don’t see anyone saying you need to buy this home, because if people can afford it they most likely have already invested in-house. No one says it’s cold maybe you should turn on the heat, guess what, if you’re cold you’ve most likely turned on the heat already.
For the most part I don’t mind marketing, but if you’ve ever taken a marketing course (it’s required for all business majors) you know that it’s their business to get into your business. They want to know where you live, how much you spend on something, what your interests are and all the other little details of your life so they can either convince you to buy their product or develop a product they think you’ll want. Some of this is progress, and some of it is creating waste. But if you really think about it, you’ve lived your entire life without whatever it is they’re trying to get you to buy, you can most likely live the rest of your life without it. Which isn’t to say I won’t buy something that I like, but I don’t like someone trying to manipulate me into purchasing. Odds are if they take the hard sale approach I will resent them and walk away. I do appreciate a pretty package, but that isn’t the only thing that will convince me that I need to purchase this product. I will say I am more likely to buy if I think it’s a bargain or there are some sort of discount/dramatic savings (cheapness may be my Achilles heel). I think there is something inside of me that rationalizes a purchase when it’s been discounted. (And I realize that this whole paragraph was like a response to a marketing survey, ironic no?)
Don’t think I forgot about the boys. Christmas bargains are out there trying to open up your wallets too you know. The day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. is Black Friday, this is a unisex free-for-all throw down of savings. It’s a smackdown to get your tech toys as well as other items. The catch, because there is always one, is the limited supply. For example last year Radioshack offered this great deal on netbooks, but each store only received one, so that should be netbook. They open at six and people line up and crowd in to find savings. I used to go out there and go toe -to-toe with the best of them. But I am more likely to stay at home and order online, as it has gotten too dangerous, people have been killed in the insane mobs. In fact I wait to order certain things, say a tablet or new software, around that time in hopes of getting something from Apple. But in typical sneaky American marketing, some places started offering “Black Friday” discounts in earlier months.
I wonder is anyone else tired of consumerism? Or am I suffering from this malaise alone?