Shop Til’ You Drop

Shop Til’ You Drop

The documentary, Shop Til You Drop: The Crisis of Consumerism made in 2009 takes a deeper look into the sociological, psychological and ecological aspects of American consumer culture. It seeks to understand what drives people into shopping frantically by looking at the flip side of the coin that is characterized by an erosion of human values and natural resources. In the end, the documentary sheds light on the relationship between consumerism, its limits, and the endless pursuit of happiness. In America, the ‘shop till you drop’ concept is regarded as a defining aspect of the American culture. The three terms discussed in reference to the documentary include culture, material vs. nonmaterial “symbolic” culture, and socialization.

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Culture

Consumerism refers to how consumers behave, how they react to new brands, products or services and how they respond to the products or services provided. In the documentary, a portrayal of globalization and westernization has been created, and the two reams are seen to co-exist, bringing about cultural diffusion in America. In the same way that globalization brings about the integration of markets, westernization promotes the integration of different international cultures. This explains why, as depicted in the firm, Americans would buy a product from another country such as Italian gelato after traveling overseas. Such actions lead to the assimilation of the best products from all over into the American culture.

Material vs. nonmaterial “symbolic” culture

What lies beneath consumerism can best be explained based on an understanding of the differences between material and nonmaterial culture. Material culture refers to the tangible objects belonging to a certain culture while nonmaterial culture is often described based on intangibles aspects such as values, beliefs and attitudes of a certain culture. By understanding both the material and nonmaterial culture of the consumers, particularly as portrayed in the film, one can be able to determine which products or services will thrive in a certain society.

Socialization

Lastly, the documentary Shop Til You Drop offers pointers for a better understanding of the role of socialization in the development of cultures, for example, American consumerism Socialization is the process by which people come to understand and acknowledge the existence of different belief systems from their own. Without socialization, therefore, the consumer world would not be what it is today.

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