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Lately, I take offense to the word (and idea of) consumer. Is that all I am, a consumer? Companies in the US are so focused on getting us “consumers” to buy products that the products themselves suffer. I give you two examples.

I have issues with gluten and so have two choices when it comes to bread: bake it myself using expensive flours, or buy an expensive loaf. You’d think rice flour breads would be cheaper. Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided to be adventurous and try some new versions. One loaf I bought turned out to have gluten in it, though the package was a bit misleading. The second loaf turned out to be $13.99, a fact I did not realize until I was home. $13.99 for a loaf of frozen bread.

My first thought was the price was incorrect. A phone call to Whole Foods actually confirmed the price was actually correct. It had to have been mismarked on the shelf, because there is no way–NO WAY– I would have purchased it at that price. However, I was told I could return it for a full refund, even if opened. Ok, fine, I will. But I am still wondering who they expect to pay this price for sandwich bread? (Also, I tasted it. Bland.)

The same weekend, the boyfriend and I took a trip to Pet Smart. This was an even worse purchase. We have a large plastic container with a lid to keep the cat food fresh. No need this time: not long after I’d emptied the bag into the container and closed the lid, I noticed maggots crawling all over the inside of the lid. Disgusting!!! I took a loss on the cat food and threw it out, container and all. I did some research after that, and it turns out that Friskies/Purina are pretty much the worst cat foods out there. I’ll not be buying their food again, ever.

I know that I’ve been guilty of not doing my research in the past and not paying as close attention as should be paid to what I eat or buy, or what I feed my cats. That is definitely going to change.

Marketing and profits are taking up much of corporate budgets it seems. I have no stats on this at present, but I have read reputable sources who have not been shy in making public the fact that corporations have not only recovered from the recession but are profitable already. Who cares about expensive allergy-friendly bread or rotten cat food when you are rolling in profits?

Let’s just stop the charade, folks.  We all talk about how the holidays are for family and religion and etc., but I think it’s time to just admit it:  Christmas isn’t for Christ, it’s for money.  Period.

Black Friday proves it:  you’ve got shoppers whipped into such a frenzy over the prospect of getting some coveted gift that they are pepper spraying each other.  Shooting each other.  Fighting each other.

I can’t imagine any gift, any item, on the market right now that I’d hurt someone to get my hands on.  Maybe my priorities are just in the wrong place.

I’ll shop for Christmas presents, but I won’t be caught up in the crass consumerism we’ve got going on now.  I’ll shop local businesses and buy as many locally made gifts as I can.

To sum up:  Fuck Black Friday.  Avoid the mobs at the mall.  Let big corporations worry about being ‘in the black’ without your support.

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