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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 09:26 AM   #81
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
Question to those who have kids and grandkids: As a child, most of the things I really wanted came from seeing other kids in my neighborhood or at school getting them first, not from advertizing.
Sometimes parents get kids what they want because they feel it reflects on themselves as parents. "I bought my kid the fancier bike, so I must be a better parent than you are."

Kids learn fast.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 10:01 AM   #82
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
The anecdotal stuff and limits research I have seen suggests that ads, especially on TV, have a strong effect on kids. Thus far, we have severely restricted our 2 YOs exposure to TV for exactly that reason. The TV was off if she was in the room up until age 2. Now she watches a half-hour a day of "Sesame Street", but only with DW's supervision. DS has told me that even with this supposedly educational program, kiddo turns into a zombie in front of it if just left there. If DW stays there and interatcs with her, kiddo actually jumps around, sings along, etc.
Brewer: My ulterior motive with my question is that I am hoping, over the next few generations, that TV and advertizing will start to dissipate its effect on kids, that they will end up immunized from it somehow. So, I'm looking for some anecdotal evidence. I remember reading an article a number of years back that gen-x was less affected by TV but more affected by peer pressure then the previous generation. I saw this as a good sign when I read it. On the negative side, all these new programs, reality shows, are supposed to be filled with product palcements, so the advertizers are constantly on the move. So, I'm just looking for some personal experience from those with kids.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 10:46 AM   #83
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Looking back as a kid, I remember the main things I wanted were things that friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc got first. I don't really remember it being the tv so much that affected me.

For instance, I remember one Christmas, 1981, my cousins got an Atari for Christmas. I had another friend who had an Odyssey II (another crude videogame system of the era, sold by Magnavox, had a little membrane keyboard that made parents think it would be a great educational device). Well, one day I went over to my other friend's house...he had an Intellivision. At the time the thing just seemed so incredible.

It was soon after that that I started noticing those infamous George Plimpton "Atari versus Intellivision" commercials, but by that time my mind was already made up.

So for my birthday in 1982 I got an Intellivision. I do remember that fall, Colecovision came out, and the Atari 5200 was readying its wings. They were much more capable systems than the Intellivision, and the ColecoVision went on to become a really hot product, although when the videogame industry crashed in 1984 it actually bankrupted Coleco. I think by that time I was starting to outgrow videogames though, so I never had a lusting for a Colecovision the way I first did the Intellivision.

I think kids will really get swayed nowadays not necessarily from a commercial for a product, but moreso by seeing a product placement in a tv show. Like if they see some famous rapper, actor, athlete, etc driving or wearing something or sporting the latest color I-pod, then they really want it.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 11:44 AM   #84
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Grandkids are 5, 4 and 1.* They're still a little young to be victimized by kiddie marketing.* Still,* I've never heard a request from them regarding wanting something other than more of my time to play with them or read to them.* And* I see little evidence around their home of accumulation of fad toys.

They'd consume 100% of my time if that were possible, but very little of my wealth.* So, I fully fund an ESA for each of them every year and figure they'll know later in life that "Papa" helped with the material issues in their lives too.

BTW, the only TV they see is purchased or pre-recorded DVD's.* There is zero TV surfing.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 01:41 PM   #85
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
Question to those who have kids and grandkids: As a child, most of the things I really wanted came from seeing other kids in my neighborhood or at school getting them first, not from advertizing. Some kid got a new 10-speed bike and I wanted one too, although I remember watching Daniel Boone and wanting a gun. But I don't remember ever seeing a TV advertisement and wanting that product. I'm wondering how much children seem to be directly affected by TV advertizing nowadays?
"Try a friend's before you buy" has been an excellent tool. Our kid has learned that the friend's reality is a little different than the commercial fantasy. There's an excellent cell-phone commercial airing now with a mother and a daughter "angrily arguing" over her latest cell phone ("Mom, you always get me exactly what I want-- I love you!!") but our kid has learned from watching her friends that cell phones can also be a PITA. She's well-versed on the latest video gaming equipment and iPods and she's decided that they're not worth her money. (Although she'd gladly accept one as a gift.) She's learned to check out the latest cool stuff with her friends before deciding whether or not to buy for herself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
I'm wondering how much children seem to be directly affected by TV advertizing nowadays?
Good gawd almighty, our 13-year-old still sees the world as one big shopping cart and her parents as mobile wallets.

But her immediate-gratification gimmes have shifted more from commercials to products featured in shows like HGTV's "I Want That!" or MTV's "Pimp My Ride". (Yeah, I know, those shows are just 30-minute commercials, but at least it's more honest than cartoons.) Most of her desires are met with a parental shrug of the shoulders, a noncommital comment to "Put it on your list", and maybe a discussion of how advertisers manipulate our emotions. Just having someone to share the urge with is usually enough to calm things down. I think that commercials & consumerism are gradually developing her critical-thinking skills, especially when the manipulation is blatant. For example she hugely enjoys the commercial about the guy who's in debt up to his eyeballs and the print ads about the poisons in cigarettes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
My ulterior motive with my question is that I am hoping, over the next few generations, that TV and advertizing will start to dissipate its effect on kids, that they will end up immunized from it somehow.* So, I'm looking for some anecdotal evidence.* I remember reading an article a number of years back that gen-x was less affected by TV but more affected by peer pressure then the previous generation.* I saw this as a good sign when I read it.* On the negative side, all these new programs, reality shows, are supposed to be filled with product palcements, so the advertizers are constantly on the move.* So, I'm just looking for some personal experience from those with kids.
Mmmmmm, I'm thinking "no" on immunization. It's an arms race.

Peer pressure is a wonderful thing when it comes to toilet-training a toddler, learning to ride a bike, or getting a kid ready for school. But around fifth grade it can be turned against you (like all the other times that kids actually listen to what you say and use it as a weapon). Teen peer pressure is heavily influenced by the media, and it's radio/Internet/cell phones at least as much as it's TV. I don't think peer pressure changes over the generations as much as it's affected by the technology.

Our big breakthrough was establishing a clear difference between "shopping" and "buying". The rule is that a lot of shopping has to precede the actual purchase, and the pressure is off when it's clear that the first couple trips to stores won't result in a purchase. Much of the urge to buy is satisfied by playing with the gear and then letting her nitpick its quality to death. Now when she gets the serious gimmes we've learned to relax, let her explore the whole thing, and let her make her own decision. It's usually worked out fine, although a small minority have turned into one heckuva learning experience for her (e.g., Yugi-Oh! cards). She's also old enough to save her own money or to work for her desires, so we don't have to feel like we're being mugged.

I think that products are much more available today than they ever have been, and that trend will continue. Technology & innovation will also make us much more susceptible to consumerism than our elders ever were. I think that the only way to immunize someone against consumerism is to have them grow up during a defining moment like the Depression or a World War or, to a smaller extent, the 1970s energy crisis.

An encouraging aspect of consumerism is that some products cost much less to sell and to resell. David Owen has noted that although his kids are hot to buy the latest toy or video game, they've also learned to save the package and keep things in good condition to maximize their eBay resale. So their cost of ownership is a lot lower today than it would've been for our childhoods.

I also think that teaching your kids about consumerism & critical thinking has its own rewards. One aspect of parenting that's not frequently discussed is how much of an education it provides for the parents. For better or for worse, our kid has effectively forced us to learn who we are & who we can be, and then "inspired" us to do something about it. Our kid has really made us grow up. I didn't see that aspect of parenting when we were thinking about starting a family, and there are still a lot of drawbacks to being a parent, but I think that this type of self-improvement tips the scales.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 01:44 PM   #86
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by Nords

But her immediate-gratification gimmes have shifted more from commercials to products featured in shows like HGTV's "I Want That!" or MTV's "Pimp My Ride".* (Yeah, I know, those shows are just 30-minute commercials, but at least it's more honest than cartoons.)*
"Pimp" is the only thing I (rarely) watch on MTV. DW and I think it is actually funny, and we are always amazed at how pathetic the lives of the recipients must be if having their crappy old car tricked out is so wonderful.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 02:12 PM   #87
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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"Pimp" is the only thing I (rarely) watch on MTV.* DW and I think it is actually funny, and we are always amazed at how pathetic the lives of the recipients must be if having their crappy old car tricked out is so wonderful.
I've always wondered how they insure those street-legal Frankensteins...
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 02:15 PM   #88
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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I've always wondered how they insure those street-legal Frankensteins...
Maybe they don't.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-16-2006, 08:42 PM   #89
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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In some poor countries, the people have probably not even seen a lot of products available in the developed countries.* So they can't even want what they don't know exist.* As they get exposed to what's available and see other people in their "peer group" having them, then they might start wanting them.* This is where advertising exerts a big influence, creating desire for something not necessarily needed but added to one's want list, or to put a positive spin on it, creating material ambition or something to strive for, with the ambition directed not only to acquire the goods themselves but also to achieve a certain lifestyle or standard of living.

There's a whole science devoted to this!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product...cle_Management
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-17-2006, 10:38 AM   #90
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

To Greg's question, we have noticed our kids tuning out TV and tuning in to the web and to their role playing video games played on the PC. They get about 5 hours of 'screen time' each week, plus web 'research' and family movie night time. They ridicule ads outright, but are susceptible to overall marketing/merchandising/buzz campaigns around things like movies or new video games. I think going forward, TV is going to have a tough time winning these kids over to anything via outright advertising.

What do they buy? (boys aged 11 and 15) They have allowances and have become fairly astute consumers, though not nearly as careful shoppers as Nords' daughter. Their purchases incline more to sports stuff (3rd basketball -- Dad bought the first two, after that they're on their own, replacing a lost frisbee etc.) electronic stuff and media. Ipod/Itunes owns their heart. They also buy video games (fairly intellectually demanding these days, actually) and new DVDs (We say, use the library, 'but they don't have the good stuff!", so they need to use allowance or gift money for cool DVDs.) Other than that, my older boy's favorite place to blow money is www.thinkgeek.com which may also be true for some people here. He also buys stuff like lockpicks, new lasers and magic tricks, none of them advertised but instead scouted out through the web. Magic cards are another big hit, and they spend hours playing the game together.

Some of this stuff is owned by friends first, but a lot of time is spent scouring the web for 'cool stuff'. I suspect there are a getting a lot of buying advice/want-to-have information from web columnists/reviewers and general online buzz.



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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-17-2006, 02:55 PM   #91
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Nords: I liked this comment about your daughter: "I think that commercials & consumerism are gradually developing her critical-thinking skills, especially when the manipulation is blatant. For example she hugely enjoys the commercial about the guy who's in debt up to his eyeballs and the print ads about the poisons in cigarettes." I think she is starting to see all the ironies of adult life, which, of course, is a good skill to be developing at that age. A definite complex critical-thinking skill immunizing her from at least some harms.

It sounds like you're sort of channeling her focus away from the direct experience (and appetite) and toward mental discoveries of product evaluation. Fine to go back and buy, but work it thru the mental and emotional systems first.

Anyway, I've been thinking some more about this stuff and realized my question was somewhat poor, so I backed up and thought about the macro-stuff: It seems to me that much of our conspicuous consumption has resulted because of our increasing urbanization over the past fifty years. In the good old days, we lived further apart. We saw fewer new bikes and cars running around. Just a little less temptation out there. Now we pack people together a bit tighter and each of sees far more stuff everyday, especially something novel. This adds quite a bit of stimuli. Plus, maybe, we tend to work with larger groups of people nowadays and see lots of new goodies because of that. Same with kids, especially in a school of non-differentiated middle-class children. Anything that sticks out (the first I-pod) gets everyone's attention.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-17-2006, 03:03 PM   #92
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
It seems to me that much of our conspicuous consumption has resulted because of our increasing urbanization over the past fifty years.* In the good old days, we lived further apart.* We saw fewer new bikes and cars running around.* Just a little less temptation out there.* Now we pack people together a bit tighter and each of sees far more stuff everyday, especially something novel.
I don't know about your "good ol' days" but I've spent the last 30 years getting farther & farther away from my neighbors. My parents-in-law grew up in a Bronx apartment and have spread themselves out even more than our generation.

I think that manufacturing technology, mass media, and the Internet have created the capacity, the demand, and the communications systems necessary to really lubricate the transaction costs. Chaaaaaaarrrrrrge it!
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-17-2006, 04:15 PM   #93
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Greg,
Thorstein Veblen would back up your point that urbanization drives consumerism and conspicuous consumption. He had a great line in his book "Throry of the Leisure Class" written about a hundred years ago, about the need for status symbols that "he who runs may read'. Its gotta flash that loud. I think we know all about that.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-18-2006, 02:59 PM   #94
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Greg,
Thorstein Veblen would back up your point that urbanization drives consumerism and conspicuous consumption. He had a great line in his book "Theory of the Leisure Class" written about a hundred years ago, about the need for status symbols that "he who runs may read'. Its gotta flash that loud. I think we know all about that.
Last nite I actually read about 5-10 pages of his book. It looks like he does the slice & dice on class differences, laying out all the fine gradations between and among them. I may go back. Interesting.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-18-2006, 07:16 PM   #95
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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Nords:* *** It seems to me that much of our conspicuous consumption has resulted because of our increasing urbanization over the past fifty years.*
Yep, that's absolutely true Greg. City boy down to the core speaking here.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-18-2006, 09:34 PM   #96
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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I think that manufacturing technology, mass media, and the Internet have created the capacity, the demand, and the communications systems necessary to really lubricate the transaction costs. Chaaaaaaarrrrrrge it!
Reminds me of that South Park episode making fun of Americans where they are playing (I think) the Chinese volleyball team and the announcers say something like "I know, I'll use my credit card!"

The ease of spending money we don't yet have is a very strong driver in the rampant consumerism of our society. In fact I...sorry, no time to finish this post, gotta go buy some books with my credit card!
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:51 PM   #97
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The ease of spending money we don't yet have is a very strong driver in the rampant consumerism of our society. In fact I...sorry, no time to finish this post, gotta go buy some books with my credit card!
Yeah, it seems like the entire western world is structured around impulse stimulation. If we can't stimulate you enough on the product side, we'll get ya with the financing options. I feel like a ping-pong ball sometimes.
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-19-2006, 04:44 PM   #98
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That's correct . . . . City boy down to the core speaking here.
I think I was a bit wrong on this one too, so I thought about it for a while. Although the urbanization was what we see, the real event was the loosening of generational ties. Farmers created their farms not just for themselves but for their children--for the continuity of the family. As industrialization occured, more farmer's children left for the city and good, easier factory jobs. So as the strength of inter-generational rural bonds decreased, the bonds in the city didn't increase--as much. Today we have folks that move I think, on average, about once every seven years. It's sort of expected by parents that their children will move away for the best job possible. Homes gradually transform from long-term bases of operation and family wealth and security to straightforward status symbols for some: You move into a new neighborhood and the only exhibit of your status in life is your new, fancy house and car. Conspicuous writ large. One part of the puzzle for me. Thanks.
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Old 08-20-2006, 05:12 PM   #99
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

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You move into a new neighborhood and the only exhibit of your status in life is your new, fancy house and car.* Conspicuous writ large.* One part of the puzzle for me.* Thanks.
One of the things Billy and I noticed when we lived in Mexico, was that most people there had walls around their homes. The walls could be filled with graffiti or crumbling down (too much lime in the cement) and look quite ancient. From the outside, no one could tell who lived behind them.

Over and over, to our surprise, when the gates were opened, behind these crumbling, sometimes ghetto-looking walls were palacial living quarters. Manicured gardens, live in gardners and maids, swimming pools and so on.

It was a different style all together.

We would comment to each other: "You know, in the States, we would have a circular driveway, with the cars displayed and the house and huge yard all there for everyone to see. Here, they hide it all behind the walls..."

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Re: Conspicuous Consumption
Old 08-20-2006, 05:45 PM   #100
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Re: Conspicuous Consumption

And unfortunately - a gated community if required in the U.S. - the houses would still have the open style.

Let's hope the reason's for the original walls in Mexican style villa's are largely no longer valid.

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