As the holiday blitz starts coming to an end, my family and I watched an interesting PBS program called Affluenza (there is also a book of the same name). As stated on the site, it talks about the high social and environmental costs of materialism and overconsumption. Did you know that 2/3rds of all newspapers is just ads? Or than the average house in the 1950s was just 900 square feet? Even more surprising, 70% of people visit the mall every week. On average, Americans shop six hours a week and spend only 40 minutes playing with their children.
I don’t have kids yet, and I hate going to the mall with a passion, but I definitely feel overwhelmed by the amount of ads out there. I’m somewhat comforted by the fact that with my TiVo, I now watch virtually no TV ads. It’s kind of nice not knowing what is trendy or what’s on sale. I also use an internet pop-up blocker to nix as many ads as I can. As for materialism, I can’t say I don’t get distracted by plasma HDTV’s and the latest gadgetry. I love my laptop and home wireless network. But this show helps put things into perspective a bit. Is it a bit ironic that I checked it out for free at the local public library?
By Jonathan Ping | Frugal Living | 12/24/04, 10:06pm