Retail is an odd duck, isn't it? Maybe it's not retail itself so much as advertising that bothers me. It has become so scientific and so prolific that it creates need where none existed, demand for products that serve no purpose, and a culture that expects far more than we require.
How willing are we to let our decisions be influenced by retailers? Pretty willing, apparently. Are we aware of how much power we're giving away? How much influence major retail corporations have on our lifestyle? And our laws and regulations? We argue that big money is running the country, and it is, but where did all that money come from? From us, buying things they convinced us we need. Walmart succeeds because people like cheap, low-quality products all together under one huge roof. Big oil knows we want our SUVs, and they're certainly not going to talk about electric vehicles or solar power or any of the other, smarter choices we have.
We gave up cable TV a couple of years ago, a necessary budget cut that has ended up being a really good choice for us. We have internet, of course, so we're still able to watch almost everything. But we're more selective now. We watch a movie now and then. We find a show that's special and watch the whole series from beginning to end, sometimes one episode almost every night. Or we go days without thinking of using the TV. We read more. We talk to one another more. We listen to more music. These are things that would be lost if we'd kept cable, and I'm ashamed that we didn't make the choice for the many good reasons we could have. At least it happened.
A huge benefit of leaving broadcast TV is that we're not bombarded by advertisements anymore. We don't know when there's a new, better, shinier, prettier whatever-it-is, and we enjoy not knowing. We shop with lists and try to buy only what we need. (And we still have too much stuff everywhere!) I'm sure we're still slaves to advertising and retail pitches in many ways, but it feels really good to have escaped that constant invasion into our home.
As I said in an earlier post, "How We Vote," the places we spend our dollars are the places we support. We give them our business, they grow, and everybody's happy. Unless we're giving them our business mindlessly and they turn into giant greedy corporate monsters. Our relationship with retailers and advertisers changes the world, for good or bad. We get to choose.
You might want to check a movie I watched in 2012 - Branded. Weird and dark, it's about a future Russia entirely controlled by corporations through advertising. It supposes an ugly worst-case scenario and isn't reality at all, but it sure got me thinking.