by Kenneth Justice
~Last night I had to run an errand at the store and as I walked through the door I was greeted by a barrage of Christmas decorations and the typical fare that stores try to sell you during the holiday season.
The only problem is that its not the holiday season! Its still October and once again, the stores have begun celebrating the Christmas buying season many months before the actual holiday.
I’ve read articles about this tired old bit before and I really don’t want to add to our frustration with the way the stores are ruining October and November by celebrating Christmas too early. Do merchants in Europe do this? Do stores in Canada and Australia do this? Is the United States the only country where retailers have become so obsessed with making money off of Christmas that they try to force the holiday upon us way too early?
We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘The Commercialization of Christmas” In the Charlie Brown Christmas special from the 1970’s little Linus tried to warn the masses about the true meaning of Christmas and the danger of allowing it to become commercialized. Of course Linus also tried telling people about Great Pumpkin but in both instances people refused to listen to him.
Yet the more I think about it, the more I realize that we are not simply dealing with the commercialization of Christmas…..we’re dealing with the commercialization of just about everything!
—) There are commercials about the kind of wedding ring you should buy
—) There are commercials about the kind of sexual enhancement drugs you should buy
—) There are commercials about the kind of breakfast cereals that bring family together
—) There are commercials about growing old
There are commercials about everything! Every type of event you may or may not experience in your life; there is a commercial to signify the moment. If we wanted to take the time we could assemble an entire cadre of commercials that tracked the entire lifespan development of a person from birth to death!
We all know that commercials are designed to influence the way we spend our money and spend our time….yet even though we know this…how many of us are still influenced by commercials?
Sometimes when I see a billboard or an advertisement along the side of the road, I think to myself, “Are people really being influenced by those things?”….but if commercials didn’t work….then companies wouldn’t use them anymore…right?
I’ve often said that people in authority should be held to a higher standard. Politicians, priests, business owners, etc.; men and women in positions of leadership have the greater responsibility to treat those under them with respect, decency, and fairness.
But what about all of these Ad Agencies? These companies create commercials that they intentionally design to spur you to buy something. Just as a crazy television evangelist tries to get you to send him your money…..advertising agencies spend millions of dollars, research, and time in trying to figure out the best way to get you to unload your wallet or purse on their products.
When I was in school studying psychology we spent a lot of time talking about advertising. In fact, advertising is a popular career for psychologists who decide they don’t want to go into human service because the advertising field is all about understanding the psychology people.
Look, I’m not trying to say that capitalism sucks….I like many elements of the free market system. But shouldn’t we hold certain people to a higher degree of accountability? But how can we? Aren’t these types of things beyond our control?
Perhaps I am an idealist, but I’ve always believed that the way you change a society is to begin a dialogue; You start talking to one person and then your conversation grows throughout the community until a whole lot of people are talking.
Then again….perhaps I am some loon who lives in the la la land of my mind where everything smells like roses and everything tastes like coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society