Are We Buying Too Much?

Are We Buying Too Much?

By Kathryn Puharic, Staff Writer

With the increased use of online shopping, Americans are now able to spend more easily than ever before. Consumer Culture has greatly shifted throughout much of the 2000s, with major companies dominating the online shopping industry such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart. These companies not only offer a wide variety of goods and services, but an affordable price as well. If a certain product cannot be found in a store, Americans can now easily purchase it from an online source, with the click of a button.

Advertisements have also greatly affected the way Americans spend. Increased social media usage and endorsements from celebrities have made buying easier for consumers. With products being advertised so heavily, Americans feel a pressure to spend on these items, even if they are unable to afford them. The use of personalized advertisements also encourages Americans to spend more money on products, with ads specifically targeting the individual shopper. Companies can interact with shoppers on a completely different level by using the consumer’s digital footprint to cater ads to them.

Affordable prices also make people of any economic class able to participate in fashion trends. Fast Fashion Websites, such as Shein and Romwe, offer trendy clothing for much cheaper prices compared to other retail stores. While these clothes are affordable, they have a severe environmental impact. These items are made with extremely poor quality due to their cheap prices, and they are not meant to last for long periods of time. Since they last for such short amounts of time, consumers are forced to buy new items of clothing to keep up with fashion trends. A very small percentage gets recycled or donated to thrift stores, and the majority ends up in landfills which are extremely harmful to the environment. These clothing pieces release harmful chemicals into the oceans, polluting marine ecosystems. 

So many options are now available to Americans through the digital world and it is difficult to differentiate what is necessary to buy and what is the most accessible. While many may be tempted to buy items advertised to them from certain companies, it is important to consider the ecological consequences that follow over-consumption. If Americans do not figure out ways to cut spending, the future of our planet will be at a severe risk.