Daisy Snow: Never-ending cycle of consumerism from cradle to grave

North Devon Gazette

After talking last week about how we are sold to from birth and as babies, I wanted this week to explore more in depth the next stage of our lives.

My daughter is four years old, so I am currently going through this stage and it’s shocking to see how she’s already being sold to.

This year when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and for Christmas, she, for the first time ever, gave me a very specific answer.

In previous years she had said something like a doll or a cuddly toy, but this year she told me she wanted ‘a walking, talking baby that sucks a dummy and sucks a bottle’.

It was like she was reciting the entire advert when she told me.

I couldn’t fathom where she could have heard about this toy as at home we have never had a television.

I gathered it must have been from watching a TV at her grandparents occasionally and then thought how alarming it is to think that a child watching maybe one hour of TV every two weeks could be completely sold to in such a short space of time - it’s clearly a very successful form of marketing.

On the subject of TV, that’s the next avenue, characters from stories, shows and films are now made into another form of revenue through an onslaught of merchandise, merchandise which children really want because it features a picture of a character they have grown to love.

Cue tantrums in the supermarket while trying to do a food shop and you can soon see why this stuff gets bought.

Any parent who has gone into a supermarket with a child will know about the strategic route you have to navigate to avoid the shelves that could cause the child you are with to notice some kind of plastic toy conveniently placed at their eye level and wanting it.

Then, as the child gets older, in this modern day age, many become interested in computers and gaming, now all online, these games can constantly sell to the child while they are playing them in the form of buying add-ons.

Additionally, through children now having access to social media, the problems that it ensues are inflicted on them from an earlier age, and the younger they are, the more malleable.

Kids are caring about what they look like, what brands they are wearing, what latest toys they have, comparing themselves to their friends from a younger age - and we must remember that this mind set has been learnt in their time on Earth, their brains have been conditioned to think like this, thanks to globalisation.

Teenagers wanting the latest trainers is great for business.

This leads me on to talk about the pace that things now go out of fashion and how quickly the next model comes along, think of play stations, each time a new one is released, children want it, then they want all the games to go with it, by the time they’ve finished buying all the games they want, a new model is then released, and so on and so forth.

It’s a never-ending cycle of consumerism, targeted from the age of three until old age.

Setting people up for life, in the paradigm of wanting the latest, and newest. It’s no wonder people get themselves trapped in a lifetime of debt starting from before they even get a job.

Financing things we will never own is now a concept completely normal to a child growing up, the idea of paying for apps and game add-ons, years ago a child wouldn’t have had pocket money and handed it over for essentially ‘nothing’, but that’s what happens now.