Thursday, January 31, 2008

Conspicuous Consumption


This is a topic that my family, particularly my mother and I, have debated for many years and I don't think the conversations are going to end anytime soon.

The debate goes something like this:

[Mother Sole Proprietor]: People always want what someone else has and they'll do anything--and I mean anything-- to get it!

[Sole Proprietor]: Some people are like that, but their are those that will say to themselves that they want something "better" and work and save their money to buy that item or product.

[Mother Sole Proprietor]: Yes, that may be true in some instances, but there are always people that are going to "fake it until they make it", by trying to look like they have something, in this case money. Where do you think the phrase, "keeping up with the Jones'" came from?

[Sole Proprietor]: I completely understand your point, but there are some people that don't want to have what the next man has. For example, I don't like walking down the street and seeing someone wearing the same sneakers I'm wearing!

[Mother Sole Proprietor]: Why not?

[Sole Proprietor]: Because I always want to be different and not have the same sneakers or clothing that the next guy has on. It's like going to the prom and two women have the same dress on. To avoid this, many women pay top-dollar to have a custom gown made. It's all about looking fly!

Well, as you can see, the debate can continue ad infinitum and we each walk away having another perspective, but one thing we can agree upon is that conspicuous consumption is something that plagues Blacks.

Mr. Cosby was not 100% correct in his recent book, Come On People, but he does make some valid points regarding buying a child a video game console, $150 sneakers and name-brand clothing, when the child needs his/ her teeth fixed or a tutor.

Do read the article by Ryan Fishman of Slate.com entitled The Sneaker Cult. It offers some good food for thought.
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