Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How Consumerism Is Gobbling Up Services!

Everywhere I turn there’s the specter of consumerism that is threatening to devour. What I find irritating is programs that show ads multiple times on television. Market pundits say that consumerism and the advertising that goes with it have lowered the price of goods and have made goods and services available to people, such as me. But I beg to be differing, only. It may have lowered the price of mobile phones but it hasn’t lowered the price of the service that should come with it – my mobile phone bill comes with a lot of add-ons I don’t remember having asked them to add-on in the first place.

To all advocates of consumerism (whoever said “Advertising reduces prices of products”) I will say this: services that are a part of consumerism is still very expensive in that there is no service available in some, oops, most cases. Low cost airlines may fly you to Kerala for Rs 3000 but there is no seat numbers, no food, and no cute lady to give you a boarding card. A tetra pack of a fruit juice costs Rs 20. The cheapness factor comes from cutting away a service that we were used to. No, I am not deploring the lack of cheerfulness on the faces of the airhostesses; poor things are, after all, paid a pittance compared to the call center employees. And look at the airport taxes, that’s a service tax and it burns a big hole in my pocket.

Sports and entertainment are two areas where a lot of money is being spent. Again successful sportsmen and film stars endorse products, with a view to sales, and with the adjunct of further boosting consumerism. If it continues this way a time may come when living will become unaffordable for the retired and the jobless.

And they have the guts to say “Advertising reduces prices of products.” What? Do those product/brand ambassadors (pretty Preity is endorsing Godrej Boyce) and long-legged models come cheap?

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