BJ'S BLOG 04/21/14 "Teach Your Children How to Spend"
by BJ Shea,posted Apr 21 2014 7:48AM
Today’s blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders.
Sometime in July of 1955, a magical thing happened. Walt Disney’s dream came true, and the gates to Disneyland were opened wide. Originally called Disneyland, its name was changed to Disneyland Park in the 1990s to distinguish it from the expanding complex. The place was and is full of glitter and romance, inhabited by princesses and princes and a mouse named Mickey.
Back then, I had the embarrassing opportunity to tour the Magic Kingdom. Yes, embarrassing. My mother insisted that I place a Mickey Mouse ears/hat on my head, which already had over sized ears, and I looked like a two-headed rat, er, mouse. I don’t know what that embarrassing hat cost back in 1955—it was an original—but Annette looked a lot better in it than I did.
This blog is not about my childhood humiliations, though. It’s about the children of today and the movie Frozen, which has spawned an outbreak of buying frenzy for the movie’s costumes. Desperate parents are paying thousands of dollars for Elsa dresses. Yes, thousands!
This is insane! Even if parents have money to burn, they are sending their children a discomforting message about consumerism and the things that matter: They will always get what they want. Corporate retail loves this, but what if children’s future careers are more barista than barrister, as happens often today, and they are confronted with disappointing choices they are unprepared to make? The VW will have to do instead of the Lamborghini, and even buying the basics might require some thought. The price of milk has skyrocketed, and gas remains volatile, making me very glad I don’t need to drive a lot.
I’m not sure if my argument is more with the media marketing giants that lead us to want, want, and want until we actually believe that we need, need, need, and will spend the bread, bread to get it, or is it just part of a continuing circle? In the case of the Elsa dresses, you search, run, and beg and plead because you want to be a good parent and give to your child what you didn’t have. (“Gee, mom, my friends have one. Why can’t I?”) I’m not condemning parents, but I do think it’s feeding a circle of want that makes corporations giddy with happiness and leaves values in peril.
There will be more thoughts about these and other topics at Rambling Harbor. Stop by and give a listen.