Americans are usually pretty good at smelling out a turd when we get a whiff. But something has happened to us. We allow ourselves to be pushed around by margin squeezing corporations, corrupt politicians and pointless business endeavors like those of the late great crap pusher Billy Mays, because what is this boring $19.99 going to do in my pocket when I could buy a plastic toothpaste dispenser that does exactly what my hand does anyway. Lately, however, we have been fooled into thinking that if we didn't pay retail for it, it can't make us happy. Maybe its the collapse of our educational system...
EJECT CORPORATIONS from your life. As many as you can.
Do you NEED a credit card? Do you NEED 2 or 3 credit cards? Can you pay cash? Do you NEED a 10% fee on every purchase? Potential late fees, annual fees, service charges... Take their power away. That power is your money.
Banks. I spit on banks. When I was in college their automated charges hit me in a series of fines that cost me almost $150 for a $45 overdraw. Granted, it was my fault, but the fine put me below on another check, which triggered another fine, which then put me below $0, which triggered another fine. By the end of the automated fine session, I was down $150 bucks on a $45 electricity check, as a working student who paid his own rent and bills, it was tough to see three fines for $150. If you had kept your money in a mattress the last ten years you would be far better off than had you put it in a bank. What's so bad about renting? Would have saved out nation $700 Billion had many Americans stuck with it, not to mention the ruin of millions of Americans who chased the Dream right into the hands of Corporate America, who, in turn stung us all.
Do you NEED to drink Coke, Starbucks, Pepsi or really anything beyond water (and I don't mean bottled)? No.
Do you NEED cable TV? Between the internet and cable I spent over $1200 last year and over 30 hours on the phone with IT and missed two days of work so I could be home to get the repair guy in. I would even argue that my service provider, DirecTV, is negligent in their service. I have crawled around in my basement with a flashlight in one hand and the phone in the other, having been asked to find various connections. Forget it, come out and make the internet I pay $50 a month for work goddammit. Had I not already left Comcast for similar reasons I would have left DirecTV. What heppened to the days when you plugged something into the wall and it worked?
Do you NEED one car for every member of the family? All the associated insurance, gas and service fees?
Do you even NEED a cell phone? Remember back, way back, ten years ago, when your phone bill was $15 and and you checked your messages when you got home? Now you're lucky if your cell phone bill is less than $50, pkus we text and talk while driving, might be giving ourselves brain damage, or not, depending on what company sponsors the fraudulent and misleading research.
Do you really need that $1 burger that is made of meat treated to taste the same whether you bought it in Belgium, Mexico or Santa Monica? Probably not. I eat one piece of fruit from my garden everyday, when possible. I also donated four bags of excess lemons and oranges to a shelter and bring a bag wherever I go to give to people.
If I wasn't married to an American consumer I would live in a motorhome and blog from the parking lot outside Starbucks drinking free water from the tap, eating cheap fresh fruit and avoiding the American housing trap. You know the one, the trap where everytime your salary increases your expenses do too so that no matter how much you make you seem to only have about $10 in your pocket? Yeah, that American dream, trap.
What about pushy software companies forcing their products onto your harddrive. I'm not talking adware and viruses here either. I'm talking about Yahoo!, whose browser menu somehow ended up on my Firefox, despite me clicking no to every check box I saw. Between Google, Yahoo! and the Nigerians with their lottery winnings, I don't know who is worse.
Everytime we vote to change the rules to balance the playing field in favor of the average American, they retaliate with their corporate algorythms, profit maximizing specialists and teams of people whose job it is to save the corporations money, usually at your expense.
BE REAL ABOUT THIS
Alright, some of my requests have been unreasonable, I mean who could give up Starbucks? But take a look at your life and see what is necessary and what is in your life due to good marketing. Every product out there has teams of people working to make you buy that product, why? To get your money. How many products in your life are actually vital to your existence? Most likely, very few.
Stay ignorant America.