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.