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Looking for Love on Aisle Two

When I wrote my book, my basic thesis was 1) that brands have transformational properties (the ability to take us from asleep to awake, from adolscent to adult, from stressed to mello (and back again, of course); 2) that the place where these transformations hold the most promise is just before we acquire the brands and 3) that our consumer culture is denigrating the power of these transactions by defaulting to “the okay, available and cheap.”

My case is simply that if we all paid a bit more for what we really want and need — and bought fewer things we don’t need, we wouldn’t erode our budgets, but we would enable service workers to earn a living wage. We’d also contribute less stuff to the landfill and have a much better engagement in our shopping. There are many folks who believe that the essential narcissism of the marketplace won’t allow for that: That American consumers will always buy the cheapest goods because we love a bargain, even if they’re blackmarket products or made in sweatshops or sold to us by frazzled people who have to work three jobs in order to make ends meet. I’m wondering what you think?

FCS