In a consumer’s society people have grown used to getting their demands met the moment the need occurs. When I want new jeans, I open my laptop and can have my pick from countless different models and brands.
With the festive season closing in, I can do the same for my Christmas presents, mostly delivered within 24 hours. When I crave Chinese food or a Pizza, I pick up the phone and have it at my doorstep in 20 minutes. When I want strawberries in midwinter, a store within 5 miles from where I live is bound to have them. Basically in a consumers world, side stepping the fact only the privileged can afford most of it; there is little left to wish for. Lord Economy has provided for more quantity than we can process, more choice than we are logistically able choose from and in fact more than we actually need.
If such a thing as ‘attic statistics'; a count of un-used an un-necessary goods each household holds, would exist, we would be utterly, utterly shocked.
Only a while ago, people only owned what they needed and in many cases had to wait before they even got wat they needed.
Only 7 decades ago, most people who needed new clothes either had to sit down and make their own or go to a dressmaker or tailor and wait a few weeks until the garments were done.. Only 5 decades ago certain vegetables and fruits were only available in season. Only 4 decades ago messages, i.e. letters, still went through regular mail which could take days, or even weeks.
My point is, that even though life in the 2017’s might involve some waiting on airports and the results of the stock exchange maybe, modern day consumers have become highly accustomed to instant gratification.
I sometimes make the joke medieval warriors were unable to call home from the battlefield to say they would be late for dinner. These days we get instant answers, deliveries the next day when we order before 11 at night, all groceries from all seasons basically available 24 hours a day and news from all around the world in an instant. We have become an instant generation, from instant rice to instant gratification. The first world problem has become we have little left to wish for.
Maybe we should make a special wish this festive season. A wish for a better world rather than yet another Gucci handbag. ‘Spoilsport’, you may think. But really, think about it; which would you like better? A cleaner, better, happier world to live in? Or an expensive handbag to carry around?
Ingrid Schippers 21-11-2017
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The spoken version of this blog, features as end note on ‘Dutchbuzz’, the radio hour for Internationals every Tuesday ( with the exception of summer and Christmas recess) from 10 to 11 pm on ‘Den Haag FM and can be found in the Programme Archive of the Dutchbuzz podcasts, dated November 21 2017