I blame the Sears Wish Book Catalog for my active fantasy of living a profligate lifestyle. It began in my early childhood, of the 1960’s and 1970’s, back when Sears was in the business of selling consumerism via their bi-annual catalog. I squandered countless childhood hours, wishin’ and hopin’ and dreamin’ and prayin’, for so many things that I didn’t need.
My parents both worked, as such, my sister and I were often left to our own devices. One can only entertain oneself with “The Collections of the Bothers Grimm” so many times before one begins to look elsewhere for ones entertainment. These were the days that preceded VCR’s and DVR’s, the days when the Brady Bunch was only on television once a week for thirty minutes. I had exhausted all other means of entertainment before I capitulated to capitalism, finally turning to the 500+ prodigal pages.
There were many ways to play this shopping game:
• One way to play was to choose one item from each page, in the departments that my puppet strings were attached to. I’d write down the item numbers, and ask my sister to do the same. We’d compare our tastes.
• Another way to play was to pretend that I had a budget of— say $500. I’d shop the pages, and again write down the information, and the cost of each item, add the prices, and see how much I could get with the money I didn’t really have.
• Yet another way to play this fantasy shopping game was to dream up a story for the models in the catalog: This is Laurie, with her boyfriend Greg. They’re planning a trip to Europe with Deb and Steve, so let’s pick out the clothes and luggage they should buy to take with them.
We wonder why our economy is in trouble. Many of our politicians, who can’t seem to budget our tax dollars, were also raised on the Sears catalog. I can tell you that the seed of wanting what you don’t need is planted early in children by advertising and marketing firms, often without garnering the notice of the responsible adults who are supposed to be instilling values and priorities. There is a discernible method behind the psychology of raising little consumers, and it is absolutely effective.
The well thought out placement of sugary cereal, low on the grocery store shelves, has long been reported. The idea being, that placing a product at the eye level of these little sugar fiends will trigger the child’s desire, to the point that they will annoy their parents into submission, and eventually get that sugary cereal that was not on the grocery list.
Advertising targeted directly toward the often unsupervised child with television commercials during children’s shows is another underhanded method used by marketing firms. Children are bombarded with brightly colored shiny images of what happiness should look like. The only solution I see is to turn off the television, and have your child sit on your shoulders when you’re shopping.
With all this said, If I were to win the lottery today—a substantial amount, I could never be at a loss as to how to spend money. I’ve been dreaming of this scenario for as long as my memory serves me. My priorities have however changed since the days of the Sears Wish Book.
Today, I would use my winnings to pay for my children’s college educations, perhaps they could study advertising. I would set them up with a place to live near their chosen schools. I myself would work less, giving myself more time to write. I’d move out of this godforsaken state that I live in, and find a less godforsaken location, where the weather isn’t as extreme, the politicians aren’t as corrupt, and the taxes are actually spent on what they were meant to be spent on.
And I would pay it forward… Perhaps offer financial aid for college to the children of working single parents who are penalized for their work ethics, not qualifying for aid because they “make too much money”, although they do not make enough to cover the costs of educating their children. Since I haven’t won the lottery, I’ll just keep wishin’ and hopin’.
The Daily Post, July 26, 2015, The Daily Prompt: You’re a Winner~ You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/youre-a-winner/”>You’re a Winner!</a><a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/youre-a-winner/”>You’re a Winner!</a>