Swept up in doomsday commercialism

By Xuyang Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2012-12-11 20:20:04


Illustration: Peter C. Espina
Illustration: Peter C. Espina  

Attention, attention! Doomsday is upon us! Before we all go down in flames, or whatever method we perish, why not go out on one last shopping spree and spend the last of your savings? After all, you won't have any use for your money when the apocalypse strikes. This may well be your last chance to dispel the myth that money can't buy happiness.

We still have just over a week until December 21 - the day of reckoning, according to the ancient Mayan calendar.

Stores are accordingly hyping up their year-end promotions, capitalizing on an "end of the world" marketing opportunity. As the old saying goes, "when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade." In this case, when the universe gives you a doomsday, cash in on others' fear!

I'm hardly surprised by such business gimmicks anymore. Over the past few decades of rapid development, we've fostered the amazing ability to not just see the silver lining in every cloud; rather, we've managed to squeeze silver out of every cloud.

China has long embraced Western holidays and then some. The eternal theme behind any holiday, be it Valentine's Day or Christmas, is spend, spend, spend.

Sure, this is nothing new; the commercialization of holidays has been criticized in other parts of the world, too. But that doesn't make it any less saddening.

There are special deals for every holiday and, if there isn't a holiday, one is usually made up.

November 11 has somehow become known as Singles' Day in China, but ask any single and they will tell you everyday is "singles' day."

T-mall, the business-to-consumer subsidiary of Alibaba Group, netted 19.1 billion yuan ($3.04 billion) last month on Singles' Day alone.

Apparently, the key to consoling a lonely soul is buying stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.

You can't really blame businesspeople for taking every opportunity they have to make money. You can call them greedy, but most of us know that already.

So, what about consumers? Are we really OK with all this? Sadly, we've grown used to it. We have grown to deeply worship money. As we are forever encouraged to spend more, our appetite for products we don't need grows increasingly insatiable.

Our thinking is that we can solve all our problems with money. I've known for a long time that money opens up doors, but I hate to think that we live in a society where everything can be measured in value by money.

Still, I wonder what the rationale is behind buying ahead of a doomsday if you really believe it. Is it some kind of unchecked indulgence knowing that it will be your last chance?

Or do you simply not want all your hard-earned money to go to waste since you can't take it with you? It's the unchecked desires that I'm worried about, particularly the desire of ownership.

They say money can't buy you love or happiness. Well, maybe with the money you get from selling your kidney, you can buy that latest gadget that you perceive will make your life complete.

Sure, when the end comes we might die short of a kidney or some other vital organ. But at least we'll be a lot happier.

Posted in: Twocents-Opinion

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