Showing posts with label consumerism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label consumerism. Show all posts

Friday, November 23, 2012

People of Walmart do that thing they do

Look at this.

It must be Black Friday, and this must be the People of Walmart.
Yet Walmart management has a problem with its employees who demand a living wage, decent treatment and decent benefits to deal with the kind of mindless, consumerist barbarism the retail giant encourages every Black Friday. No, the retail giant hasn't cornered the market for this kind of mob mayhem, but there's a reason why you see so much of it at Walmart and other stores aspiring to Walmartishness.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., bloody well knows every single thing about its clientele, and management knows everything there is to know about the "downmarket" they target. Plenty of people at corporate know their sociology in addition to their retailing.

And management damned well knows what's likely to happen at "X" number of random locations on Black Friday, and I'd also wager it knows which "doorbusters"  are most likely to provoke the kind of mayhem you see here . . . and where.

NEVERTHELESS, the Bosses of Walmart are perfectly happy to send the Associates of Walmart into the violent maw of the People of Walmart, who were set off by the Marketing Strategy of Walmart . . . and pay them the Crappy Wages of Walmart for the dubious privilege. 
Oh but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free. . . .

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

It's not consumerism if you need it

This right here is just what the missus and I always have needed -- dueling collegiate toasters.

In the morning, she can have her inferior, bland Cornhusker toast -- the Big Ten effect, no doubt -- and I can smirk at her as I enjoy my stylish and much more flavorful LSU Tiger toast. All I need is to click on an Amazon button . . . and wait for the parcels to arrive.

YOU WILL NOTE that the LSU toaster is more expensive than the NU toaster. My lovely wife likely will say that's due to kickbacks that have to be paid to somebody in the Gret Stet.

That's because she slept through economics, not to mention many of her other classes at Lincoln.

I attribute the price discrepancy to simple supply and demand.

Geaux Tigers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Caveat eBaytor

I've been spending time looking at cool old electronics on eBay rather than send myself into a depressive spiral thinking about -- and blogging about -- the state of the world today.

Obama or Romney.
Romney or Obama. If I had a handgun, the barrel probably would be in my mouth right now. Since that wouldn't be such a good thing, I've been looking at (and buying) cool old electronics on eBay instead.
Being, however, that any damn fool can buy or sell on eBay -- or anywhere else, I must add -- sooner or later, you're going to come across a bill of goods worthy of a Washington pol. Or even a Louisiana one.


(Sic), (sic), a thousand times (sic).

IF THAT TV is any older than the late 1970s, I'll eat a vacuum tube. Personally, I'm pretty sure it's no older than the 1980s.

If just looking at the thing isn't clue enough -- How many teeny-tiny television/alarm clock/ AM-FM radio combos running on "D" cells were there in, say, 1958? None, that's how many -- the very modern standardized label is a dead giveaway.

Word to the wise: U.S. addresses didn't include ZIP codes until 1963. Neither did labels of "PRE 60s" television sets.

Oh, by the way. . . .

At 20 percent off???

$18 . . . maybe. If it works well.

Caveat emptor, y'all. Now more than ever.

Friday, March 09, 2012


Translation: Stuff Well-Heeled Liberal White People Like.

Wow. At $199.99, this costs a lot more than my Peter Max-designed Hot Wheels car did 40-something years ago.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WWFD (What would Freud do?)

Dear Sigmund,

I hope you will forgive me for going all Jung on you here, but I think these Black Friday ads for the Target discount chain somehow are an expression of one facet of Western civilization's collective unconscious, which, I am happy to report to you, seems to be linked somehow to your observation of our death drive -- our Thanatos syndrome, as it were.

I say these are an expression of our collective unconscious -- again, apologies for the Jungian theorizing -- because they seemingly are presented quite unwittingly by Madison Avenue as an inducement to self-annihilation. Ironically, they urge us into mortal consumerist combat with one another by exposing to us our unified (violent?) subconscious (a super Id, perhaps?) under the guise of humor. Look at what I mean here.

THE ACTRESS in these television commercials urges us on toward consumerist combat -- literal combat, given the statistical probability based upon years of observational data -- thus bringing us closer psychically and physically to the obliteration we unconsciously crave, in the service of wholly materialist objectives which at best serve only as a temporary distraction to our collective sense of alienation and despair.

I sense this may somehow be related to the Oedipus complex, though I am unsure of this.

FINALLY, as the Target advertisements urge us on toward unfulfilling aggression and, re: Durkheim, anomie, the TV spots simultaneously transcend the primary function and become pure metaphor for what we are as a society and what the consumerist imperative demands even more intently of us.

What I am wondering, Sigmund, is this: Do you suppose it may be that Thanatos, as it were, is one and the same as Jung's collective unconscious? Has it always been thus, or is this a new evolutionary stage that inevitably leads to extinction -- one quite random and pointless as the dinosaurs' by asteroid impact?

Can this be true, Sigmund? Alternatively, could the apparent self-destructive goal of evolution be a means of making room for the emergence of yet-higher life forms?

Yours in inquiry,

M. Favog

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year

OK, America. Find the crazy people in these videos shot on Black Friday at various Wal-Marts across the country.

Who in these videos presents the real threat to public order?

Which videos show dangerous and disorderly mobs requiring robust police action in defense of life and property?

Who does get forcibly stopped by police in these videos?

Well played, America. We've made our country. Now we have to live in it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Power to the percolators!

Would you like to see the definition of insanity?

The epitome of consumerism run wild?

The alpha and the omega of insane faddishness?

Yet another example of planned obsolescence in the name of unnecessarily separating suckers from their no-longer-so-expendable income?

Making a damned cup of coffee a lot more complicated than it has to be?

HERE YOU GO, courtesy of Reuters:
Starbucks Corp, the world's biggest coffee chain, on Sunday said it plans to announce a new product for the single-serve market "in the near future."

Analysts long have expected Starbucks, which also sells Via instant coffee packets, to make a more aggressive move into the small, but fast-growing single-cup brewing segment.

Word of its new plan comes as Starbucks is getting ready for the March 1 termination of an agreement by which it provides coffee discs for Kraft Foods Inc's Tassimo one-cup home brewer.

Kraft's Tassimo brewer won some loyal fans with its bells and whistles, but it was bested by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' generally lower-cost Keurig brewing system that now has a near-monopoly in the single-cup category with roughly 80 percent market share.

While several analysts expect Starbucks to begin providing coffee for the Keurig system, some also have concerns about expiring Green Mountain patents, patent challenges and whether curr
ent Keurig users will migrate to the company's new machine.

"Starbucks is currently exploring all options to expand its presence in the premium single-cup coffee category, beyond our initial entry with Starbucks Via Ready Brew," Starbucks spokeswoman Lara Wyss told Reuters.

"Single-serve is still in the earliest stages and no clear delivery system has been established as the gold standard so it is important for us to look at all options," Wyss said.
HERE'S THE PROCESS: People threw out their old drip coffee pots and percolators because somebody invented the Mr. Coffee, which was way better because it was NEW! And because it cost more.

But the Starbucks took over the world with espresso drinks and other gourmet coffees, which you couldn't have at home unless you bought an expensive espresso machine, which was better than a $25 stove-top espresso pot because it,
like, cost 10 times as much. Duh!

Espresso makers, though, were too complicated. What was needed was something as simple as a stove-top espresso pot, but would make only one cup of coffee using high-priced, proprietary little packets that fit in little coffee makers that cost $200. This was real progress, which is defined as quadrupling --
through technology -- what the average consumer might have paid in Luddite days for an espresso pot and a hot plate.

the Tassimo single-serving coffee maker, for which Starbucks supplies overpriced coffee in little proprietary packets. The Tassimo represented a tenfold leap in progress, as measured by the cost of making a cup of decent coffee increasing from roughly a dime to a dollar.

Progress, however, requires obsolescence. Thus, the inevitability of Keurig -- shoving Tassimo to the margins of java history, and the need for your average coffeeaholic to shell out another $120 bucks -- Look, Marge! Economical coffee at home! The new coffee machine is $80 cheaper than the one we bought last year! -- for the new coffee-making system that's incompatible with the old one.

AND STARBUCKS will be there with a product that we know will be superior to whatever swill you're drinking now . . . because it will cost so much more.

The American Way.

As a card-carrying Democrat, however, I have no interest in The American Way. So you'll see me in the kitchen of our little collective here in Omaha,
by God, Nebraska, spitting in the face of bourgeois society by making myself a cup of communist coffee in a proletarian pot.

On a prehistoric contraption called a stove.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Simply '70s: Two shows are Beta than one

It's like . . . a time machine!

Watch what you want when you want to watch it!

It's magic, I tell you! Like Star Trek or something, this Betamax machine is. The wonders of modern electronics never cease to amaze in 1975.

What will they think of next?
And it only costs $2,295!

Now if I only
had $2,295.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Your Daily '80s: It's the future . . . today!

Man . . . look at this stuff! It's a futuristic wonderland . . . right now in 1983!

Lost in Space has come to pass! Look, it's the Robot!

The next thing you know, we'll have "communicators" and "tricorders," just like on Star Trek!

And huge view screens just like on the bridge of the Enterprise. I wonder what wonders we'll see in 2010?

We'll be getting around in nuclear levitating cars, no doubt.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

This TV set is 39 years old

When this Sony color portable was made in 1971, television sets were not cheap.

You had to save up for one. And they were tanks -- solid and heavy.

On the other hand, if a set like this model KV-1201 were to break, which was extremely unlikely, you could get it fixed. And the picture quality was very, very good . . . as you can see 39 years later.

I BOUGHT this set for $7.50 Sunday at an estate sale. If I had bought it brand new in 1971, I would have gotten almost four decades of use out of it, and it would still work like new.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? It makes you wonder what the real cost is of our postmodern consumer society, where we buy lots and lots of stuff -- gadgets -- and almost none of it will last longer than a few years, at which point you will throw it away.

It makes you wonder whether the flat-panel HDTV you bought for $500 will last four years, much less four decades. It also makes you wonder whether, if it lasts two, you will junk it anyway because it's no longer the latest thing -- and we Americans are all about the latest thing, aren't we?

Me, I'm rather partial to scavenged relics of a lost era of durable goods -- truly durable goods.

And at $7.50, this bit of durability is a bargain you'd be hard-pressed to beat.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Design . . . by Apple

Call it Design by Apple.

If you hold the new iPhone model wrong, your calls get dropped.

And then, if you drop your iPhone -- and really, it's a blinkin' cell phone . . . all God's people drop their cell phones -- this happens:

THERE IS a term for this. "Really bad design."

It may be pretty, but it obviously isn't practical. Practical is important. Epic fail for Apple.

Of course, it could be that Apple was aiming to create a metaphor for the Age of Consumerism. If so, brilliant.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remain calm, oil is well. . . .

Gee, we kind of are the Great Satan, aren't we?

I mean, we suck up vast amounts of the world's natural resources in order to support ridiculously overblown lifestyles and compulsive consumerism. We drive all over the place in SUVs, spend money we don't have like no one will ever cut up our national credit card . . . and it's all either to scratch our itch, or go to war in regions of the world we'd care nothing about if not for oil.

Oil is the fast food of our supersized national appetite.

AND WE'LL DO ANYTHING to deny the reality that the jig is about to be up. From the Guardian in London:
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.

The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.

The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation's latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.

In particular they question the prediction in the last World Economic Outlook, believed to be repeated again this year, that oil production can be raised from its current level of 83m barrels a day to 105m barrels. External critics have frequently argued that this cannot be substantiated by firm evidence and say the world has already passed its peak in oil production.

Now the "peak oil" theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. "The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120m barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116m and then 105m last year," said the IEA source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry. "The 120m figure always was nonsense but even today's number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.

"Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources," he added.

A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was "imperative not to anger the Americans" but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. "We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad," he added.
IN A WORD . . . sigh.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The 'Axis of Evil' begins here

These are the faces of killers.

They are not like the Muslim-fanatic killers and terrorists reaping the whirlwind, for example, in Mumbai this week. Those misguided and evil souls think they kill for the sake of Allah . . . to uphold the dignity and law of the Almighty.

These homegrown, all-American killers do so because stupidity and greed is a deadly combination.

OUR TERRORISTS and killers are, instead, shoppers of mass destruction. They destroy, pillage and kill at Wal-Mart for the sake of cheap manufactured goods and Black Friday bargains. Most of it, stuff they don't even need.

Third World "primitives" riot over flour, wheat and rice, because they and their children are hungry. We Americans are much more advanced. We kill for stuff we can't even eat.

By the hundreds, we trample defenseless pregnant women and employees of big-box stores for the Holy Trinity of digital TVs, Tickle Me Elmos and George Foreman grills. As the New York
Daily News recounts on its website today, we should be so fuggin' proud to be American:
A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said.

The 34-year-old employee, a temporary maintenance worker, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."


A 28-year-old pregnant woman was knocked to the floor during the mad rush. She was hospitalized for observation, police said. Early witness accounts that the woman suffered a miscarriage were unfounded, police said.

Three other shoppers suffered minor injuries, cops said.
ALL THIS. For stuff. Not food, not God . . . stuff.

Cheap stuff.

The Daily News further reported shoppers blithely streamed past emergency medical crews as they tried to save the trampled Wal-Mart worker. Priorities, you know.

One shopper summed it up pretty well for the newspaper, and for the demented, barbaric society we have become:
"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."

UPDATE: Houston, we really, really have a problem. And we can't blame this one on the Religious Right. In fact, the Religious Right might hold a big part of the answer.