Consuming isn’t evil


Most of us don’t like to think of ourselves as consumers. I know I’d always hated the term. I’m a human being, after all, not just a buyer of things. 

I disliked the word “lifestyle” for similar reasons; I live a life, not just a “style” that naturally requires buying more things.

Then a magazine story I was editing about Rob Walker, a consumerism critic for The New York Times, called me out. He was explaining why the Times needs such a thing as a consumerism critic.

“People constantly tell me that they’re ‘not much of a consumer,’” he said. “That’s the mindset everyone comes to this with. Everyone thinks they’re sharper, less greedy, and more virtuous than average.

They recognise the silly decisions of others, who are influenced by status and marketing and other non-rational things. But people tend to see themselves as immune to all that.”

Oh, Rob. When did we meet, and how did you get to know me so well and so quickly?

The shock of self-recognition forced me to admit I am a consumer. I buy things — in fact, over time, lots of things. I choose which things to buy — sometimes for smart reasons and sometimes for silly ones.


Consuming Isn’t Evil (Busted Halo)