Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Frenzied Consumerism

Doesn't the holiday bring out the frenzy in people? Have you noticed that in the season of giving and appreciation, we are surrounded by people who are impatient, hostile, rude and in too much of a hurry? It amazes me how quickly people narrow their focus to their immediate need and forget that others are there to help.

I had an interesting experience returning a gift recently. It was a major department store and I have to say it was incredibly easy. We did not have a receipt and they exchanged a set of bed sheets for the correct size without any hassle. The people in line who were returning did not seem to understand the ease with which these returns were occurring. I was also amazed at the tremendous amount of "stuff" which was for sale. There were rows and rows of clothes, home furnishings, housewares, bathroom and bedding. I saw designer names like Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren and others. It counjured the vision of the US consumer as a school of piranha - all ready to strip the merchandise from the shelves in a frenzy of consumerism. I felt ill.

We live in a society which celebrates its own disposability. I wonder when we will realize that our lives and our efforts which go to purchase so much of this "stuff" are somewhat empty. Could we not buy less or at least appreciate what we have more? I think the businesses do themselves a credit by making returns easy. On the other hand, I don't think it helps our consumer driven lifestyle or expectations. Make an effort to be more appreciative of the service you receive. At the same time, consider the consumption you do and try to reduce it. Both of these will improve your ability to provide exceptional service to your clients.

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