Santa Claus. I feel sorry for the old boy. He works his tail off all year monitoring all the little rugrats for badness and goodness, makes all the toys, and drives a somewhat limited delivery system through rain, sleet, hail and dark of night to deliver all those presents on time and for WHAT? He’s been officially named the poster boy for everything that’s bad about commercialism, consumerism, and materialism. Yes, the annual rants are out again this time of year decrying the waste and expense of all the “stuff” we buy, use, and throw away.
But, ya know what? I don’t feel the least bit ashamed of spending as much of my meager bank account on as many things that I can and giving those things to other people. Do you want to know why?
Here’s reason #1
Everything we consume, whether it’s food, housing, clothing, toys, electronics, or gadgets goes through the same process to get to our homes. Someone comes up with an idea. Resources are gathered to produce the product or service. The products are manufactured and the services are equipped with the tools of the trade. Marketing is used to introduce the product to the people. A delivery system is used to get the product to you and a customer service department is there to listen to you complain. Every single part of this process needs employees to advance the product to the next level – employees like you and me, the neighbor and the country folks, and other businesses whose employees provide support.
When you think of all that goes into the gift that you just gave someone, the positive economic impact is almost immeasurable – not only for this one gift, but the employees responsible for bringing this gift to you are now able to buy whatever product or service the company you work for provides.
As beneficial as buying a gift might seem, it’s still rampant consumerism, isn’t it? So let’s say that you could snap your fingers and a miracle would happen. Excluding food, clothing, and shelter nobody would buy anything else. OK. We’ve got to have schools and doctors and nurses. And we should probably have transportation to get to the schools, hospitals and general store. It would be environmentally beneficial and cheaper to use horses. I guess we need someone to build windmills to pump water and wood stoves to keep us warm. Lucky me, you’ll need someone to make horseshoes for your horse and wagons and wagon wheels. You see, this is already getting out of hand, but if we could snap our fingers and a miracle would happen, how many of the 330 million people in the U.S. would actually have a job afterward?
A lot of people don’t like consumerism. They don’t like Big Business and they don’t like that our country is so obsessed with buying stuff. I’m guessing that they would be first ones to quit their jobs and close down the company they work for so less stuff is being made. You think they would do that, don’t you? No? I don’t either. They want us to quit buying so much, but keep buying the product that their company makes. That’s only fair, isn’t it?
Consumerism creates an environment where a person with a great idea for a product can cut a deal on Shark Tank and be selling a million dollars worth of product within a year, employing scores of people who didn’t have a job before then. That’s a good thing.
If you want to be a minimalist – great. Just don’t get on your soap box every Christmas and criticize those who don’t. We’re the ones who keep the economy going and people employed – including you.
Reason #2 for buying a whole bunch of stuff and giving it to other people
The joy I feel in my heart when I see the excitement on someone’s face as they open their gift. That’s the best reason of all.