Christmas consumerism

Ruhi Kaneria | The Chronicle

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Hauls and influencers. Consumerism has been rooted in our history for centuries. From the exotic items presented on the market in the 18th century to the boom of department stores in the early 19th century, humans have always been looking for the next best thing, whether it is new spices, shiny coins or the best gaming computer and jewelry brand. 

In the 21st century, social media has completely changed the face of consumerism. With influencers, hauls and brand deals, more people are enticed by new items every day. But as we face a new wave of advertising coming our way this winter season, from holiday jingles to super sales, I encourage others to think about the powerhouse of consumerism and how our propelling of it eventually will lead to a downward spiral.

To preface, consumerism is unavoidable. It surrounds us everyday and it is so integral to our economy. But what we can avoid is our overspending and encouragement of massive consumption. Before adding an item to your online shopping cart, ask yourself: do you really need that water bottle? Or those new tennis shoes? By asking these reflective questions, we can truly curb consumption before we get too invested to say no. 

Another key reason to not be engulfed into consumerism is trends. Their lifespans tend to be short, which means that as you actually begin to follow one trend, another one is created. By attempting to fit into each trend, you will end up with a surplus of items that will be deemed unusable in a few months. 

A solution to these issues is to ask yourself if you are actually going to use the items you purchase. Think about the longevity of the item. Want a tip for picking what clothes to buy? Try the cost per wear method. Take the total price of an item, and divide it by the number of times you will wear it. The cheaper the cost of wear, the more sustainable your clothing will be. 

Overall, consumerism is hard to avoid, I get it. With appealing trends constantly popping up on my feed, and the overall societal pressure to dress the same way and have the same things as my peers, I feel like I sometimes fall into the trap of consumerism. With the help of reflective questions and curbing methods, I hope that both my peers and I can work to be more sustainable.