Tag Archives: American society

Living in a Material World

My love/hate relationship with commercialization in society…

cc license, newwavegurly

Christmas shopping is overdone and over commercialized in this country, but unfortunately it doesn’t stop with the holiday season. America is extremely materialistic and commercial year-round. This is something I had always known but didn’t start to understand until my first study abroad experience. I spend a semester in Australia last fall and one time on a trip to the grocery store I couldn’t find those little baby carrots. Definitely not a necessity and definitely not important item, but I still remember being slightly annoyed. I couldn’t have exactly what I wanted on my shopping list and that was a frustrating feeling for this spoiled American. I called my mom later to tell her about it and I’m pretty sure she laughed at me.

The point of this story is not that Australian grocery stores don’t stock baby carrots (in fact I’m pretty sure many do). My point is that after living abroad for four months I now have conflicted views on commercialization and convenience. I can’t deny that there are certain parts of American culture I adore. 24-hour Giant Eagle grocery stores would rank among the top of my list. I can’t help but favor certain brands. When I go shopping I like to have several choices. I know that if a shoe store doesn’t have my size they will often place and order with free shipping.

Unfortunately these same conveniences seem quite disgusting and shallow at times. I don’t like seeing two Starbucks across the street from each other, especially in place of a local café. While Australia was not completely free of this, it certainly wasn’t at the same level. It was common to see local restaurants and shops. Advertising wasn’t nearly as bad either. Some days it just felt like you had a little more room to breathe.

I’m considering moving abroad when I graduate making this topic even more relevant to my life now. I wonder if I would spend time enjoying a more laid back lifestyle or if I would miss certain conveniences back home. I would like to think I could live without excess on a daily basis, but I wonder how long it would take my mindset to change.

Do you ever feel like a material girl (or boy) living in a material world?

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