How often have you heard someone say, “I decided to treat myself and buy a [insert object here].”
How often have you used this phrase to satiate guilt when making a major purchase?
One Saturday night a couple friends came over to my place to watch movies and visit. One friend had just won several hundred dollars at a local casino, and was talking about how much he’d been wanting a Nintendo Wii. Later into the evening we decided to make a run to the local grocery store for some wine, where there just happened to be one remaining Wii in the electronics department. My friend decided to snatch it up, given how hard they’ve been to find since being released. After buying the console, an additional controller, and a game, the price tag was well over $400.
As we walked out of the store, it was apparent my friend felt guilty about his purchase. He was reminded by our other friend that he’d “been talking about getting one for awhile,” and was reassured more than once that “he deserved it.”
In my opinion, there’s no such thing as “deserving” something that is not a basic human need. Whenever I hear this word used in any context outside of true need, it really bothers me.
Near-slave labor in countries with little or no human rights are the hot coals that keep the fires of consumerism burning in the West. We buy things we don’t really need with money we don’t have because we think we “deserve” it. I’m by no means implying I’m immune to consumerist urges, but I do recognize how ugly the whole cycle can be.
Where did this pervasive feeling of entitlement come from, and why does it continue seemingly unchecked?