It happened again, that eerie feeling. I was lost within the belly of my local mega-mart.I had been here before,the forgotten inner aisles, where few men dare to go. It might just as well have been a desert isle. It certainly wasn’t the dessert aisle. This is the place where products go to die. The banana-flavored toothpaste. The french-fried scallops.
I was lost in the land of the Runaway Consumer, where products come and go, and companies rely on hyperbole and human curiosity to manufacture the next Pop-Tart or Pepsi Cola. Luckily, there was a store map at the end of the aisle and I was able to find my way to saner ground.
Are you a run-away consumer? Can you tell? Here are five signs you just might be:
Are there more boxes in your freezer than in your basement? The problem here is that many pre-packaged foods can just as easily be prepared at home and,as everybody knows, the food you make is better than the food you take. If you are worried about time, make your favorites in batches and freeze what you don’t use right away. If there are more pre-packaged foods than raw materials in your freezer, you are a runaway consumer.
Does your pet eat better than you do? No matter what the ads say, you are not, nor can you ever possibly be a “Pet Parent”. Everybody anthropomorphizes their pets but getting lost in an anthropomorphized world is a dangerous thing. The multi-colored pellets and fancy shapes are for your benefit and not your pet’s. You should pay less attention to what the first ingredient is and more attention to the nutrition contained within that box, bag or can.
There are animals that require certain diets due to allergies and such, but the cat that just finished licking it’s buddy’s butt and the dog that made a snack out of the contents of your kitty’s litter box is less concerned with whether they are getting chicken as the first ingredient, and more concerned about getting the nutrition they need to survive and thrive. The one caveat here: change your pet’s diet gradually.
Are there more electronics in your car than in your home theatre? Electronics have taken over most of the mechanical functions of the modern automobile and that GPS certainly comes in handy in unfamiliar territory, but if there’s a USB port at every seat and your kids are watching a movie, or worse yet, movies, instead of drinking in the scenery, your car is probably over-accessorized. One more thing: You have a home theatre? Then you are a runaway consumer.
Which brings us to the fifth sign: the smart phone. A smart phone, by itself, is not a problem. The list of apps that make them more useful grows longer by the day. What you do with your smartphone might be. Indeed, Madison Street Capital believes that if your phone is connected to a watch, and then to a ring, and then to a bluetooth headset, and your air conditioner is calling you to find out what time you’ll be home, you might not only be a runaway consumer, but in need of a twelve step program.
Repeat after me: My name is(your name here),and I’m a runaway consumer.