To Buy Or Not To Buy?
Happy New Year to all Desicritics readers! It's been great to become part of this online community this year, to hear from you, read your comments, and get to know some of you.
Here are a few cheery thoughts on consumerism and inequality to start off the new year. I sat on the plane bound for Singapore last week, idly flicking through the Duty Free magazine, with its fantasy world bathed in golden light. Here were perfumes whose names and bottle designs alone have consumed the energies of the brightest and best Madison Avenue has to offer. So what was available? Would you prefer Kenzo Amour, whose blurb read: "the bottle itself...is a stylised expression of an abstract bird. It is a symbol of love, the sensuous curves of a woman and the desire to travel"? Or for the rugged male, perhaps Boss Selection, which declared, "It's about striking a note, leaving a mark: distinctive and always present." Bollocks. I would have thought it's about making a profit. But then what would I know? Such perfect examples of consumerism creating a gap which we never knew existed, until we were instructed to notice it, and then of course to fill it.
But wait, there's more. Beyond the standard fare of alcohol, jewellery, watches, wallets and bags, you could buy even more vital daily necessities. There was, for example, a thermometer by Georg Jensen, the famous Danish designer: an elegant but functional piece. Just what you'd need up your butt, I reckon. Reading on, there were ergonomically-designed thermos jugs in beige and olive green ($150) perfect for the coffee-drinking executive whose life had hitherto been blighted by the lack of an ergonomically-designed thermos, and a complete set of essential wine-opening accessories ($209) with which to impress your friends at a dinner party. Unless of course, they also had one, in which case back to scouring the magazine next time you fly...
Best of all though was the item described as Georg Jensen Spin (I jest not): a 'two-armed box" (yours for a mere $67) whose picture revealed it was a matt silver container large enough to hold precisely one key and a cufflink. But never mind such limitations: we were reassured it represented an infinity symbol, which "perfectly counters the stress and intensity of life today". Perhaps I should have bought one for my rickshaw driver.
But the pièce de résistance was at Singapore airport itself. There among the green ferns, the subtly lit boutiques, the Japanese garden with its little bridge, the tinkly music, my eyes travelled up the escalator to the sign above the lounge. At the end of a list containing such tempting enticements as "Massage" and "Fully-equipped gym", was a new product: "Oxygen" (complete with a cool, understated "O" logo), at a mere "$15-$23." When they start selling you oxygen surely something has gone a bit awry?
Perhaps the cheaper air is imported from Dhaka and the top-end stuff from Geneva. Either way, a quick calculation suggests that it would take your average Bangladeshi slum dweller approximately a month to earn enough money to buy this amount of air.
To Buy Or Not To Buy?
- » Published on January 01, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under: