woman in red coat holding book

Why Consumer Culture Is Depressing by Elsie Ramsey

I’ve grown to intensely dislike shopping. Both in New York City and in Austin. Malls here in Texas are so soulless they make me want to give up on life. Ok, that’s a bit of hyperbole but I’m trying to make a point.

What makes it so depressing for me? I’ve thought a lot about that. The obvious answer is the aggressive messaging: all branding centers around fantasy.

So we know depression is a liar. It’s most convincing lie is that you (the sufferer) have a defect. That defect will prevent you for all eternity from having a happy life. And what is a happy life made of? A solid marriage? Children? A good sex life? Being celebrated for your physical beauty?

Consumer culture says those things are for sale. A pricey wedding will set your marriage on solid ground. The expensive wedding will lead to children. Buy beauty enhancers so sex stays hot. Be beautiful for its own sake and because it works back to all the other things just mentioned.

Then we leave the airless, windowless mall (anyone else think they feel like airports?), with purchases in hand, and go home.

No spiritual sustenance has been provided. No sense of community reinforced: does the fact that we were all shopping at the same time bind us? I don’t think so.

Do any of the things you just brought home give you immediate pleasure, never mind lasting pleasure? Rhetorical question but I’d love to hear from someone who feels differently.

My sister loves to shop. Maybe I should start there.

Enjoy this article? Please consider donating to keep the stories coming!

Scroll to Top