Consumerism is certainly not an American invention, but the modern form of consumerism with its lust for the newest thing and its wasteful ephemeral fads has its origins in the United States. The idea of shopping as a pastime and the American mall culture phenomenon have been spread world wide by undeservedly-ubiquitous Hollywood culture. I cannot fathom why people go to malls for fun; on the contrary, I find them to be some of the most undesirable places to visit. When I lived in Barcelona, I was shocked to learn that people visiting the city actually took time out of their stay to leave the beautiful center of the city, and visit the enormous malls on the periphery. Why anyone visiting such a unique and beautiful city would feel the urge to visit malls filled with the same international stores they can find in almost any other city in the world confuses and disgusts me. I find the whole culture of consumerism sickening.
Today is, in the United States and many US-influenced places around the world, a day known as Black Friday. It is a day when stores cut prices, and shoppers across the US flood into malls and large chain shopping stores to search for the ever-elusive “perfect bargain.” The seemingly possessed shoppers trample each other and riot to grab cheap goods while they last, leading to a multitude of injuries-by-trampling every year. A number have died over the years. The air of the occasion is not festive, but violent. It’s horrible.
Kudos to the Wal-Mart workers who are striking today to protest their shamefully low wages.