A Celebration Of Consumerism

Once again, Thanksgiving is upon us. A day of gluttony, friends and family. And even better is the fact that its followed by Black Friday, named because its the day that retailers finally show a profit for the year (or so the story goes).

Once again, I’ll be hounded by friends to replace my perfectly good 19″ TV with a new-fangled 46″ Plasma Hi-Definition TV. (Of course, most of them are too dumb to realize that they need HD cable in order to get the best picture so instead they’ve spent $1500+ on a TV with worse clarity than my 10 year old analog TV).

The only problem I have with buying such an expensive TV is that I’ll be forced to watch the the damn thing. Right now I have more important things to do and its so easy to get sucked into wasting your whole evening veggetating (or rather rotting) in front of the telly.

I got suckered into a Russ Whitney seminar many years ago. The only thing I learnt from it was that broke people always have “big-ass TVs with all the channels”. Best $4,950 I ever spent. Ahem.

I went to meet one of my tenants two years ago. I had been renting out the place for a year and had never seen it. (mainly because it was about 970 miles away). He had 2 nice new cars parked out front. My rental looked like a model home with luxurious furniture, and paintings and candles in the bathrooms. He also had a HUGE TV. It was at least 6 ft wide. Damn, the dude lived so much better than I did (and do). But he also couldn’t afford to buy the $180,000 house he was living in, despite making more than his landlord (thats yours truly). And he never got around to figuring out how he could save thousands in taxes and rent by owning instead of renting. He just lived paycheck to paycheck, until he fell behind and I had to evict him. (Actually I very nicely told him to move out, and for once, it was a painless eviction).

But getting back to the story, the fancier the TV, the more you’re inclined to make use of it. And it results in you spending less time living life and more time watching someone else live it for you. Not only that, but you’re bombarded with ads every 5 minutes trying to sell you crap you don’t need. (Or atleast you thought you didn’t need until you were exposed to it repeatedly during the evening). I once calculated that ads account for about a third of all viewing time, so thats another huge drain on your time.

And right now they’re showing ads for day-after-thanksgiving sales that start at fricking 4 am. Who in their right mind would get up on a cold autumn/winter day to buy the same crap they can buy 3 hours later? I know that with the economy contracting, retailers are hurting, but do they think that if the stores are open twice as long, sales will actually double? I think the morons who came up with that idea should be flogged. Twice. Once before thanksgiving and once the day after.

Doesn’t mean I won’t be buying my fair share of crap on Friday. (hey, someone needs to fuel our consumer-spending-driven economy). But it’ll probably be more of the essentials that I’ve been putting off getting so I can get them at a discount. I might even get a Wii, if I can get it under $150. But I’ll probably leave the big-screen TV off my list until Feb 2009.

Ok, thats enough rant for this evening. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!