It’s hard to believe that people are shopping again today. What on earth do they want to buy? What is enough I wonder?
Retailers expect to rake in more than $16 billion over the next three weeks and $2.1 billion on Boxing Day 2014 alone. Yesterday I spent Christmas day with members of my family. There, generous parents handed out expensive vouchers to the younger members who spoke of their intention to hit the sales over the coming weekend. And yet these young teens want for nothing. They attend the best schools, partake in sporting activities, go on overseas trips. But they clamour for more.
I find the consumerist side of Christmas very disturbing and don’t want for anymore than I have in the way of material goods. I have a house to shelter me and mine, I have means of transport to get me where I need to be. I can afford to eat well and other than a good book to read, a few friends and family members to spend time with, and hopefully the ABC to watch and listen to, I have enough. So I will not be joining any sales or visiting the shops today.
Sam de Brito pointed out the obvious in his column in The Age: Jesus wasn’t a fan of consumerism but we spend up large for his birthday. ‘Jesus is the least materialistic person to ever roam the earth,’ he wrote. ‘Jesus kept a pretty low profile and we turned his birthday into the most materialistic day of them all.’ And unbelievably during last week’s Martin Place siege, the Australian Retailers Association chief executive Russell Zimmerman said: ‘I don’t want to be prophet of doom and gloom but you do worry about how this could affect spending.’
So it is that Australian shoppers aged 14 or older will spend an average of $850 each between Boxing Day and January 15. And much of this money is probably on credit and will have to be paid back hopefully not with too much interest. The advertising that encourages this excessive spending is everywhere. But surely we should be more aware of its effect on our consumption patterns and endeavour to resist this greedy spending. It is ugly to watch and be part of – for even if we don’t partake on an individual level it affects us all and adds to the despair that’s present in the world today.