In the past thirty years we as a social society have moved from being classed as an Industrial Society, where everything was centred on who we were based on what we did for a living to a Consumer Society, where we are no longer thought of in terms of what we do, but more by what we are into and how and why we consume the way we do. The consumption of goods and leisure services is considered to be one of the most important social activities.
The Consumer Society we live in today offers us as consumers a wide and varied choice. Choices not only of where and when to shop at our own convenience but also choices of what we want to purchase. Most of the shopping in the UK today is done at the out of town Supermarket or Retail Park, where you can purchase just about anything from groceries to cameras, clothes to household furniture. The High Street however is still very popular among those who prefer or are unable to travel out of town and there is also the option of catalogue and on line shopping. What we do purchase can be seen as an indicator of who we are. The majority of consumption is about expressing who we are as individuals rather than actually buying things for their use. People buy certain goods because they have meaning to them or because they want to belong or fit in. People feel they are measured by their clothes, their cars and even by their houses. Take mobile phones for example; a regular cheap phone verses the new designer phone that includes all the extras, both phones serve the same purpose, both have a camera, mp3 player and the latest games. The difference is the price tag. People buy these expensive phones to show off to others, as they believe phone says something about who they are. This behaviour is better known by Social Scientists as Conspicuous Consumption. In his book The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899, Thorstein Veblen studied the consumer habits of the rich towards the end of the nineteenth century. Veblen...
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