Consumerism Out of Power

The recent tragic events of Hurricane Sandy have shown us just how vulnerable we are as consumers in todays day in age. When the lights went dark, we completely shifted how we saw, consumer and valued everyday items.

Our dependence on electricity gave consumers a new outlook on how they consumed food since refrigerator and freezers could only keep food perishible for so long. Refrigerator and freezer purges gave way to large cookouts among friends but this was done so by only opening the door to the cooling system once or twice to keep other food edible. Other non-perishable items (soups, cereal, bread) were tracked and rationed to make sure there was enough for the coming days. Other’s who had access to food stores only bought food for the coming days instead of food shopping for the next few weeks. The power outage made people aware of the shelf life of food without power and changed their shopping habits to focus on the here and now instead of consuming for the future.

Secondly, the power outage allowed us to revert back to more “primitive” times before mass electricity. Light sources came from candles and battery powered flashlights. Two items not normally deemed necessary for survival, but the power outage was able to give new value to these often overlooked items. Board games, cards, reading and drinking became forms of entertainment while expensive game systems and smart phones became completely useless.

The power outage showed just how much we consume power to generate our lives. Whether it be food or entertainment, electricity powers out lives. We, as consumers, have grown accustomed to the luxuries it gives us and have formed our shopping habits around it. The prolonged power outage quickly changed out shopping and consuming powers to accommodate our situation.

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2 comments

  1. With the recent power outages experienced during Super Storm Sandy those of us living in the New York area painfully became aware of our reliance on electronics for not only necessities, but leisure activities as well. It is reasonable to expect people to panic when perishable foods go bad, and our week worth of shopping rots, but what seems to be more disturbing is the fact that without electricity we find ourselves paralyzed with boredom. Fortunately, many businesses came to the rescue and offered havens of electricity in which electronic deprived individuals could get their fix and indulge themselves in their favorite social media practices. The recent devastation of the hurricane showed not only our dependence of electricity for our necessities but also for our leisure activities.

  2. With the recent power outages experienced during Super Storm Sandy those of us living in the New York area painfully became aware of our reliance on electronics for not only necessities, but leisure activities as well. It is reasonable to expect people to panic when perishable foods go bad, and our week worth of shopping rots, but what seems to be more disturbing is the fact that without electricity we find ourselves paralyzed with boredom. Fortunately, many businesses came to the rescue and offered havens of electricity in which electronic deprived individuals could get their fix and indulge themselves in their favorite social media practices. In a humorous list by Jonathan Shannon on what to do in the hurricane he makes fun of the dependence on technology for leisure. He pokes fun at the ubiquity of technology powered by batteries and the hesitancy to indulge in Internet usage in desperate situations. In the list he finally breaks down and engages in human contact! The recent devastation of the hurricane showed not only our dependence of electricity for our necessities but also for our leisure activities.

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