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Consumerism running amok

March 20th, 2008 at 07:32 am

When did Easter become the disgusting display of commercialism that it is?

Yesterday I cashiered and somewhere along the line lost track of how many people spent over $300 on their purchases. I start conversations with customers and at some point they generally tell me why they're buying what they're buying. What I heard all day yesterday was comments like, "Easter is so fun! I just love wrapping presents for my two kids!" as she swiped that Discover card to the tune of $384. And "Next year I'll have to be more prepared. The kids asked for a lot of things for Easter this year." as he plunked down four $100 bills.

I've worked in retail off and on for years but my last experience with it this time of year was 3 years ago. Granted, I worked at a store that wasn't quite as classy as where I work now but the customers didn't spend like they are now. Ehhh, okay..it was a dollar store! Wink

For the retailers, it's all about money and they're turning the holiday into another Christmas. But why on earth do the adults buy into this? I suppose for the same reason people buy into the commercialism of Christmas.

I celebrate neither holiday but loved them both once upon a time and I didn't go into debt for either one. Easter had some commercialism but it didn't seem to be so intense as now. When my kids were young they got a grass-filled basket with some candy and maybe a very small toy or two in it. That's it. No bathing suits, no electronics, no tapes, no jewelry. I spent less than $20 for two kids most years. And yes that was awhile ago but not so long ago that that $20 is now equal to $300 or more!

Is it just me or do y'all see this, too? I might be a stick in the mud but what I see going on is ridiculous and I can't help but wonder...what are the parents teaching these kids? The kids whine and cry through the store, screaming for "a Starbucks" (oh, don't get me started on that tangent!) and this candy and that toy, throwing tantrums because they want blue grass in their basket, not green, and they don't want a little chocolate bunny, they want a big one.

I don't know..maybe I'm just too old fashioned but something is very wrong here. Very, very wrong. And it has me deeply concerned.

Okay, I'm off to brood over it now.... ha!

22 Responses to “Consumerism running amok”

  1. sillyoleme Says:

    Hi, I agree with this to a degree. I'm only 22, but even when I was little and getting Easter baskets, my mom probably only spent about $40 or $50 on me and my brother. Keep in mind that we didn't have all that much money to begin with (she was working two jobs when her and my dad divorced), so we didn't get alot of the everyday gifts.

    I never really cared about the candy itself, it was more the fun little things she would include. Like for me, she would get a few different lip glosses (I was 10, so obsessed with lip gloss), a CD I'd wanted, some new socks & underwear, and maybe some other makeup. My brother usually got some action figures, a movie, or a six-pack of Yoo-Hoo's. It was fun, but she didn't break the bank.

    I would just hope that the parents aren't losing focus on what the holiday is still about. Our Easters were filled with Easter baskets in the morning, Church, then going to my grandmother's to have an Easter dinner & egg hunt with the cousins. I think you can make the day special & treat your kids, but they should know the reason you're celebrating to begin with.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    My kids are each getting a $4.00 gift and some candy. That's it. We do spend more at Christmas, but Easter is very low key in the gift department here. I am surprised at the hundreds of dollars people said they were spending! At least the one guy paid cash!!

  3. aevans1206 Says:

    Easter is not meant for gift giving. We usually got something we needed like baseball glove/cletes or a new swimsuit that could double as a purchase my parents would have made down the line anyway. Hundreds of dollars is absolutely ridiculous!

  4. monkeymama Says:

    I didn't realize but I am not surprised. & I thought the $20 we spent was a bit much. LOL.

    Holy Cow!!!

  5. Ima saver Says:

    Gosh, all I ever did was a basket with some candy. Maybe hide some plastic easter eggs with coins in them also.

  6. DeniseNTexas Says:

    sillyoleme, that's how my easters as a child were. We got new clothes and wore them to church then went for the egg hunt and dinner. It was nice and fun but my parents didn't go nuts with it.

    Creditcardfree, I was impressed with the ones who spent cash. At least that made some sense to me! Most of the big spenders used cards but unless I could see the card well I didn't know if it was debit or credit. Very few used cash.

    Monkeymama, you sound like me! Holy cow is right!

    Julie, that's what we did for the most part - a basket with candy. I'd forgotten about the plastic eggs with coins but we hid a couple of those too.

    My parents had the greatest easter morning tradition. I don't know where they got it but the night before my dad would hide jelly beans all over the house and in the morning when we woke up, we went on the great jelly bean hunt. That's what I remember most about the holiday and I did it with my kids, too. It's cheap and man, is it fun! He would put them up on the doorways, in cupboards, etc. and it took us hours to find them all! Sometimes, months later we'd find one on a closet shelf or some other obscure place. I just loved that part of easter!

  7. Thrifty Ray Says:

    This was a very interesting and insightful post. You have a birdseye view of spending habits...and I am amazed to learn that people shop with this mindset for Easter. I do baskets each year (usually reuse the ones from last year) with candy and a little treat--egghunts and a nice meal with family- Thanks for sharing this perspective- perhaps you could share more of what you are seeing...

  8. dmontngrey Says:

    Here's a great idea for everyone! When we were little, we got up in the morning to find a note where our Easter basket should have been. This note would have a typed clue on it and was signed "E.B." Each clue led us to the next clue until we finally found our Easter baskets. What fun it was to search for them! That E.B. sure knew us well and the clues were written so that each of us could easily find our basket.

    I always remember the one clue that said "What's black and white and says 'Hi-tachi!'?" Next clue was taped to my black and white hitachi tv.

  9. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Ohhhh Geeeeeee, we're going to now run Easter up right along w/Halloween on the spend like it's Christmas flagpole?

    Not this old gal!!

  10. toyguy1963 Says:

    Easter was never one of my favorite holidays. But I have some good memories of it from my childhood. Probably my mom went a bit overboard as I think about it now in my opinion. But we never got gifts. We got a nice basket with a lot of candy in it and hard boiled eggs. And we had a big dinner. It was more of a family time. I work in a store too and I see Easter becomming more and more comercialized. People in my store are very rude basically pushing and shoving to get at the stuff they want to buy. Even when people ask me to help them find something they wont move out of my way so I can help them. CRAZY.

  11. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    In the 1960's the kids in my family used the same baskets year after year and there was no "grass" stuff in it. I actually used to covet the grass that I saw in other kid's baskets (sometimes kid's actually brought their baskets to school the next week). Every year we had four things in our basket: jelly beans, malt-ball eggs, Peeps, and small foil wrapped chocolate bunnies (3 bites and it's gone). The day before Easter we dyed about four dozen eggs and we kids would take turns hiding them them after we came home from church if it wasn't raining, which it often seemed to do. There were no new shoes, no new clothes, though most people we knew, both adult and children, got new clothes. The night before we all sat our "Sunday shoes" (usually there was only one other pair of shoes and they were most often sneakers) on newspaper and polished them to be nice for the next day. Those who were old enough ironed their clothes for the next day. If not old enough, one of the older sibs or mom or Dad ironed. If you were not old enough to do your own ironing, you might at least be old enough to iron the sash on your dress or the cuffs of you pants. Actually that is what we did every Saturday night. Back then we still wore hats to church, and yes, many people did have a new one (Easter bonnet Smile ) every year. In my family though, we did not get new hats yearly. And hats got passed down to the younger sister if outgrown. No new toys, no new sports equipment, no giant chocolate bunnies, no diorama sugar eggs, no inflatable bunnies, no plush stuffed bunnies, no decorative plastic window clings, no yard signs, no giant baskets wrapped in colored cellophane and filled with Spiderman, Hot Wheels, or the current cartoon character. No, the candy eggs and foiled bunnies were as secular as the holiday got. Easter dinner was a nice Sunday dinner that concluded with a coconut covered cake. We were happy.

  12. marjorie Says:

    We normally got a hat, and an outfit if we'd outgrown most of our clothes, and a wooden salad bowl each with Easter candies.

  13. frugalhousewife Says:

    I love Easter candy, but I shop the clearance stuff on Monday. I usually got a stuffed animal for Easter and some candy after Easter. I guess that is why I am happy getting my marshmallow peep fix on Monday rather than Sunday.

  14. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    Joan Of The Arch, our Easters was much like yours. My mother did typically make us two girls a new dress out of feed sacking material and my brother probably got a new pair of jeans or trousers, I'm not real sure as I was the baby and didn't pay much attention to what was going on with him.

  15. DeniseNTexas Says:

    I imagine that our parents and grand parents said similar things about the holidays but it seems to me that the commercialism is waaaaay out of hand. It isn't like there's a little of it - there's a lot, an overwhelming lot of it.

    Joan of the Arch, we used the same baskets for years. I remember one I had for at least four years! Mom even re-used the grass that went in it. We didn't get new hats yearly but I generally got a new dress, new tights, and new shoes. I usually got new gloves, too, but I remember a few years when I didn't get gloves. But toys? Ummm, no, not really. Candy yes, a little bit. But not toys and certainly not big ones!

  16. scfr Says:

    When I was a child we hunted for dyed hard-boiled eggs (using a variety of "baskets" that were around the house, not bought just for the occasion) and had hot cross buns for breakfast. Those were our treats. Period. Never did I feel deprived. The egg hunt was so fun ... appealed to my competitive nature! I remember once feeling a wee tinge of jealousy when I saw a friend with several boxes of chocolate candy, but even as a child I realized that was excessive.

  17. homebody Says:

    I enjoyed filling baskets each year, didn't spend that much really. Usually threw in socks, new toothbrush, stuff like that.

    YD called me the other day bemoaning the fact she would not get an Easter basket this year. I reminded her she was going to be a mother herself, what was wrong with her?? Little did she realize an Easter basket was already on it's way, but mostly stuff for the baby, but also hair stuff she can't find in North Carolina.

  18. aevans1206 Says:

    Homebody: Laughing...tell her SHE IS the easter basket! Nobody else has an egg that big!

  19. homebody Says:

    Laughing...tell her SHE IS the easter basket!

    Haha aevans, you are right! What can I say she is young(20) and we spoiled her... but she is doing her best, plans on taking a breastfeeding class, etc...

  20. baselle Says:

    Man, I just would get a chocolate bunny. If I was lucky, the ears weren't pre-eaten. Big Grin Seriously, Easter is about death and resurrection and for pagans among us, the celebration of spring. Heavy duty gift giving doesn't fit here. Twenty years from now, are we going to give out party favors at funerals? To me this sounds about as weird.

  21. Aleta Says:

    When I was in KMart, I was shocked to see what a present day Store bought easter basket looks like and its contents.

    The basket was huge and it had a little princess dress attached inside. Since when do you give your kids costumes?

    I bought my little granddaughter who is 15 months old a stuffed animal. (a duck). I don't know how parents can keep up with these trends not to mention the expense of it.

    I used to make the easter baskets myself and they got better candy as a result of it.

  22. mike Says:

    The more you can resist spending, the more money you will have when you are older.

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