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Buy now, pay forever

Continuing the exposure of how "being poor is expensive," the Washington Post takes a look at rent-to-own purchases in its article, Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa. [more inside]
posted by fireoyster on Oct 17, 2014 - 116 comments

A little Clump of Soul

Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 21, 2014 - 92 comments

keeping up with the Joneses

give me gratitude or give me debt [more inside]
posted by flex on Sep 1, 2014 - 45 comments

Garbage Everywhere

What refuse in India's streets reveals about America’s hidden trash problem
posted by infini on Jun 22, 2014 - 43 comments

Selling Buddhism -- Selling Out the Religion

Joanna Piacenza tackles difficulties she sees in the American conception of Buddhism. She was spurred out of writing silence several months ago by Time Magazine choosing for the second time in a decade to sell their magazine with a consumerist representation of Buddhism depicted on their cover with an pretty and ethereal looking white woman. Today, she published an article in First Things on why she believes Buddhism can't be just "an add-on: an energy boost in your spiritual smoothie," but is a religion and the American attitudes that she sees as enabling this misconception.
posted by Jahaza on Jun 4, 2014 - 128 comments

The secret ingredient is the shame

"If the accessories are not expensive, the customer is not worth the effort of even a simple hello" In a paper soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Sauder marketing professor Darren Dahl lays out the findings of his research, where he looked at the correlation between the quality of customer service that a shopper receives in a store with their likelihood to return to make more purchases in the future. [more inside]
posted by St. Peepsburg on Apr 29, 2014 - 55 comments

I write for SkyMall

I write for SkyMall (SLTP)
posted by gottabefunky on Apr 13, 2014 - 56 comments

Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chainstores.

Consumerism's petty liberties have made us inhumanly passive. We've forgotten what freedom is, and how easily it is lost.
posted by lalochezia on Jan 21, 2014 - 71 comments

The shameless pursuit of discounts

How To Save Money On Amazon With a Fake Baby.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 29, 2013 - 67 comments

Why did you put millet in my muffin?

2013 Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog. The Miele Rotary Iron is a machine as old as the hills and used to be called a mangle. A mangle. For what it did to your fingers. I know, because I inherited one from my grandmother. [more inside]
posted by Sophie1 on Dec 12, 2013 - 125 comments

"Through a revolutionary change in the way US income is distributed."

A look at the post-war middle class, brought to you by the editors of Life, and Fortune Magazines.

Opportunties Unlimited (via)
posted by timsteil on Jun 2, 2013 - 1 comment

"Because Leisure Breeds Radicalism... We Oppose It."

Why we're not allowed to work less. Machinery offers us an opportunity to work less, an opportunity that as a society we have chosen not to take -- by 2000 the average couple with kids worked 500 hours a year more than in 1979. This is the story of how the a few companies like Kellogg's at first bucked the trend, and the massive propaganda campaign against shorter hours that's nearly won it's battle to make capitalism synonymous with the “American Way.”
posted by blankdawn on May 22, 2013 - 137 comments

Is it a sinister government experiment, designed to brainwash children?

Digging up long forgotten memories for a generation who spent their formative years glued to the boob tube, Memorex is a veritable nostalgia nuke for children of the 80s. Endless beach parties, Saturday morning cartoons, claymation everything, sleek cars, sexy babes, toys you forgot existed, station idents, primitive computer animation, all your favorite sugary cereal mascots, and so much more. An ode to the hyper consumerism and sleek veneer of a simpler time. (previously)
posted by eric1halfb on Jan 24, 2013 - 27 comments

Films for Action

The Top 100 Documentaries Inspiring the Shift to a Sustainable Paradigm
posted by ladybird on Nov 7, 2012 - 34 comments

this is how I wasted my lunch hour

This Is Why I'm Broke: not just jet packs and flying cars - you could locomote in a hot-tub boat, a killer-whale submarine, or a light-up monowheel; exercise on a rock-climbing treadmill; sleep on a convertible futon bunk bed; set the world on fire; or hold a zero-gravity wedding. Only in your dreams? Well, you can still fritter away your money on a flying radio-control shark, a turntable for your wall or for your cat, geeky iPhone cases (cassette tape - han solo in carbonite - ordisguise it as a leather book), a Batman snuggie or a pizza-wheel + fork or a flying fuck. All this and much more collected & curated for browsing, updated daily. Default sort is by popularity: can change to price or newest updates first. [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 21, 2012 - 32 comments

Fast Train, I Am On A Fast Train

"I'm pretty happy. I think we've almost got our house together now. We just need, like, a coupla lamps, maybe a nice piece of photography to hang, and we'll pretty much be there. So, yeah. I guess we're gonna make some pasta now and watch HuluPlus."
posted by eric1halfb on Sep 28, 2012 - 47 comments

"Before I gave up shopping, I bought a beautiful, pricey dress. I imagine it's made by a cute girl in Montreal who has to charge a certain price to keep herself in coffee, cigarettes & organic cotton.

Illustrator Sarah Lazarovic replaces clothes shopping with paintings and commentary on the dresses she did not buy.
posted by divabat on Aug 16, 2012 - 42 comments

A Culture of Clutter

Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors, a new book by UCLA's Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF), is the conclusion of an unprecedented nine-year interdisciplinary study of the middle-class American home. A team of archaeologists, anthropologists and other social scientists studied the home life of 32 two-income, middle-class families in Los Angeles. What they found was a lifestyle struggling with consumerism, and a staggering accumulation of possessions:
“The first household assemblage we analyzed, of Family 27, resulted in a tally of 2,260 visible possessions in the first three rooms coded (two bedrooms and the living room),” and that didn’t include “untold numbers of items tucked into dresser drawers, boxes and cabinets or items positioned behind other items.”
[more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jul 16, 2012 - 90 comments

Latest and Greatest.

STUFF I WISH I’D NEVER BOUGHT. 'When I wrote about stuff I would buy with my own money it got me thinking about all of the buyer’s remorse I’ve had over the years, both with personal gear I’ve bought, and with things I’ve bought for Lensrentals. I’m a gearhead, so this isn’t about “things that weren’t profitable”.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Feb 22, 2012 - 70 comments

Data Mining Your Secrets

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did (excerpt from How Companies Learn Your Secrets (single page))
posted by meowzilla on Feb 16, 2012 - 121 comments

sorry we torched the world and now you have to live like saints and suffer

Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change," from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
posted by gerryblog on Dec 22, 2011 - 15 comments

BUY MORE STUFF. CONSUME. OBEY.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy is a documentary about disposable printers, light bulbs and everything else, investigating the implications of the business model and industrial design philosophy of Planned Obsolescence that drives and shapes our economy.
posted by loquacious on Dec 10, 2011 - 43 comments

The Emissaries of Cool Japan

The Great Shift in Japanese Pop Culture: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. [more inside]
posted by subdee on Nov 30, 2011 - 36 comments

Machisma

Machisma: How a mix of female empowerment and steamy soap operas helped bring down Brazil’s fertility rate and stoke its vibrant economy.
posted by the young rope-rider on Nov 1, 2011 - 25 comments

New! And Improved! Buy Now! Half off! Limited time offer! Fortified with 11 vitamins and minerals!

Melt your brain into goo on an overdose of crass 80s consumerism and TV without the TV shows at 80sCommercialVault. Superbowl 19 commercials. Commercials from Jaws. Saturday morning commercials. Daytime / evening commercials. [more inside]
posted by loquacious on Oct 30, 2011 - 11 comments

Stop by to look for a new shirt, enjoy an orange julius, and maybe experience a detention or two.

Under Suspicion at the Mall of America The Mall of America calls its counterterrorism unit RAM, or Risk Assessment and Mitigation. The unit is staffed with private security personnel. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 9, 2011 - 97 comments

"It's like, okay, I could spend thirteen cents less on a mop..."

Comedian Louis CK on the Opie and Anthony radio show discussing consumers and commercialism: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3). [more inside]
posted by spoobnooble on Jul 8, 2011 - 35 comments

KidZania

The candy cigarette has found a rightful heir. KidZania, an international chain of family entertainment centers, invites children to be the adults in a simulated city-state. It claims to teach children about work and money, but its critics say that KidZania, full of sponsored and branded activities, is an early introduction to corporate consumerism. (via)
posted by domnit on Apr 13, 2011 - 47 comments

It even comes with an extra long twisty tie! Let's keep it safe.

Remember, only you can prevent unboxing videos. (SLYT)
posted by yellowbinder on Apr 10, 2011 - 78 comments

The Overheated, Oversexed Cult Of Bikram Choudhury

Bikram yoga, popularized in the USA by Bikram Choudhury, is criticized for being overly sexual and as subverting the traditional aims of yoga. The bacchanalian atmosphere at the training clinics held by Choudhury seem to confirm this view.
posted by reenum on Feb 19, 2011 - 67 comments

You buy one, you get one free - I say you buy one, you get one free

A Which? survey has found that supermarket deals actually offer a worse price for the customer. But to the vigilant folk of Flickr, this is old news. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Sep 29, 2010 - 50 comments

The Hidden Problem of Charity

"Charity degrades and demoralizes." The latest RSA Animate adapts a lecture by Slavoj Zizek. Previously. Previously.
posted by sunnichka on Jul 30, 2010 - 38 comments

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water (direct YT link) - Annie Leonard (Colbert Nation; previously) narrates a new video about bottled water. World Water Day is March 22.
posted by mrgrimm on Mar 22, 2010 - 71 comments

Georgia O'Keefe goes mixed-medium

As if being rich and trashy weren't already enough work, now there's vajazzling, too. (NSFW)
posted by Jon_Evil on Feb 25, 2010 - 141 comments

Oh My God, It's Full of Ads.

Augmented Reality, You, Your Kitchen, and the Excellent Products You Will Buy Today. An architecture student films a Gibsonesque, banal-yet-vivid-and-colorful vision of the AR future; his half-dozen videos extend into different realms.
posted by darth_tedious on Feb 11, 2010 - 49 comments

Makeup and mutinies

The Mineral Makeup Mutiny was founded to encourage consumers to buy indie self-made mineral cosmetics, instead of overpriced makeup that were repackaging wholesale micas from companies such as TKB Trading, or publishing contradicting ingredients lists and sending Cease-and-Desist Letters to unfavourable reviews. Miss K of Aromaleigh, founder of the Mutiny (and former seller of repackaged wholesale hues, which she's discontinuing in favour of original colours), demonstrates how mineral eyeshadows are made. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Nov 7, 2009 - 33 comments

Santa's Shopping (Epi)Center

34 industries, 62,000 stalls, 320,000 commodities for sale, 4 million square meters of selling space: welcome to the world-famous Yiwu Wholesale Market in the Zhejiang Province of China, "where Santa Claus comes to shop." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 16, 2009 - 8 comments

The Self Storage Society

The Self-Storage Self (NYT) [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Sep 9, 2009 - 61 comments

We are all Madoffs

David P. Barash argues that our addiction to economic growth is a Madoff/Ponzi scheme.
posted by mareli on Sep 1, 2009 - 75 comments

The Immaculate Consumption

The amazing products and lifestyles that would be at your fingertips if you lived 50 years ago and had a magazine subscription.
posted by jtron on Aug 25, 2009 - 17 comments

Most Expensive

The Most Expensive Journal blogs about $4,200 computer keyboards, $2.7 million guitars, and $11 million watches.
posted by Joe Beese on May 2, 2009 - 44 comments

He fills his head with culture. He gives himself an ulcer.

Are we living in an age of "Mass Intelligence" or "Commodified Intelligence"? The Economist's Intelligent Life spin-off debates whether the masses are "wising up" rather than "dumbing down" or if, in fact, we have ended up consuming rather than appreciating culture.
posted by patricio on Mar 25, 2009 - 39 comments

This is indeed the time to panic

Product Panic - Bruce Sterling on industrial design in the slump.
posted by WPW on Mar 20, 2009 - 20 comments

"So I lost the baby, but I totally got the last Wii."

SighFilter: In light of other Black Friday tales of horror or posts urging a more sober consumerism, now comes this story of a worker trampled to death at Wal-Mart and a woman who miscarried in a stampede. They ought to have read FEMA's Black Friday Advisory.
posted by resurrexit on Nov 28, 2008 - 135 comments

Retail therapy

Apropos on Black Friday, Charles, Prince of Wales addresses the Foreign Press Association with a comprehensive lecture on the dangers of unchecked consumerism and the need for an increasingly holistic worldview in light of the global social, economic and environmental challenges. The credit crisis is a side effect of a throwaway society and consumerism is no cure for depression, he says, and we need to question the concepts of "Modernity" and "Economic Growth" we take for granted.
posted by infini on Nov 28, 2008 - 102 comments

Mall, or nothing?

We've discussed dead malls before. But did you know that the world's biggest mall is also its deadest?
posted by Afroblanco on Jun 16, 2008 - 36 comments

Mark Bittman talks to TED about what's wrong with what we eat.

Perhaps more widely known as the New York Times' "The Minimalist", Mark Bittman implores us to change the way we think about and consume food during his December 2007 talk at TED. The related NYTimes article. His NYTimes blog, "Bitten".
posted by blatant gizmo on May 31, 2008 - 9 comments

Mental Privacy

The Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours. Why the Next Civil Rights Battle Will Be Over the Mind.
posted by homunculus on Apr 13, 2008 - 54 comments

Irritated and Indifferent

Irritated and indifferent -- consumers in the Expectation Economy. [more inside]
posted by tkolar on Jan 23, 2008 - 20 comments

The art of Laurie Hogin

Monkey Portraits: Allegories of Brand Loyalty, by Laurie Hogin. [Via Right Some Good.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jan 4, 2008 - 10 comments

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