Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Materialism and Love or Why Kids Want Candy.

Well, my computer is back up and working swimmingly, so now I can get back to Myspace and everything else.

Everyday I see this scenario play out. Some kid, rattling nosily on the magazine racks next to the registers, suddenly sees the Lindor Balls (which are the food of the Gods, btw. Go to Borders and get a few hundred.) and says, "Mom, I want some candy!" Although more than likely, while saying this the kid is plowing through the candy and squishing them with fingers, effectively destroying what he/she most wants (but that's another post). And whether or not the parent actually gives them the candy (in which the kid quickly eats the morsel which cannot fathom or relish in its high-calorie goodness) or not, in which a high pitch squeal and cry, but no tears, emits from the kid, which the parent ignores or buys the candy just to shut the kid up, it really doesn't matter, because the child doesn't want the candy anyway. After swallowing the candy, the kid then asks if he can have the book right behind him, or whatever.

It's clearly not a case of what the item is, but rather that the child is getting attention and what he considers love from the parent. We live in a society in which love and objects are one and the same. Where this idea originated, it could be argued for centuries to come. Probably it occurred sometime in the 1950's or 60's when that generation realized that the usually harsh raisings that they experienced by the depression generation (my step-dad) was not how they wanted to raise their children. It can be attributed to positive reinforcement, or whatever. Now, to show someone you love them, you buy them something.

And working in retail, that's exactly what we want. Upselling to kids is the easiest thing to do, cause they always want their parents to buy them something, whether they actually want it or not. How many times I have seen a kid get candy at the grocery store, lay it down on the register, and go off and forget about it, usually to look at vending machines and beg their parents for a quarter. As a capitalistic society, this is what we want. We are living in a material world... oh wait, that's too obvious... The makers of things are quite willing to make it manditory for you to buy anything to express your emotions to anyone, from buying candy to that card for Babysitter's day. And you must feel guilty if you don't buy it, cause then they won't get XY or Z and they might feel that you've slighted them, and it'll hurt your precious feelings and you'll have to get therapy again from the psychologists who would like nothing better. It's a vicious cycle, one that puts money in the pockets of everyone except you, and fills the stomachs and toy chests of children.

My suggestion... don't go to the mall, but rather, go do something that will give the kids exercise (look at me, I'm the one to talk), so they can have fun and be with you without needing to be bought something to show love. And go through and donate all that junk to Goodwill (again, you should see my room...), or to any Charity organization that can spread all this junk throughout the world and make someone else happy. This'll teach the kids generousity and philanthropy. And it'll put me out of a job, cause I want you to come into Borders and buy the books and the Lindor Balls (40 cents or 3 for a dollar) and bring your screaming, hyperactive, destructive kids with you, cause they keep my paycheck coming to me. :)

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