All that Glitters is Not Gold: Of the “Product” and the Consumer

Posted on April 7, 2012 in Business and Economy

By Shivangi Singh:

From a very tender age, we are told fables of handsome princes and beautiful fairies that live in grand palaces or dream-worlds with all things shiny and pretty at their disposal.  Somehow, this childhood fetish remains a weak point for all of us and could manifest in the form of adults collecting Barbie dolls, brands focused on the packaging more than the quality of the product, or as in most cases, as simple and common as brand consciousness amongst the youth today. Irrespective of the reason or the cause, this new-found beauty obsession is dangerous.

Take a stroll through local markets, and you will find exact replicas of all the latest designs you saw in branded showrooms and what’s more, even the fabric quality isn’t much different. These flea market retailers even have a collection of labels from all different brands which can be stitched onto the garments. The only real difference lies in a few extra zeroes at the end of the price tag of the branded clothes. While plagiarism and duplicity are uncalled for, a situation like this makes one wonder what are we actually paying for- the clothes or just a name? The metropolitan crowd is especially brand loyal and surprisingly so! The bigger question, hence, is what triggers a person to go into this cycle of financial destruction of the self? Believe it or not, the answer is: our distorted sense of beauty and the fetishism with “everything fancy and everything bright, everything in a pretty package and everything that’s pleasing to the eye”.

The mantra for successful sales these days is: What catches the eye gets the attention. Anything boring, dull or unfashionable is discarded. From cement to garments to educational institutes to real estate to men’s shaving cream, every advertisement these days has a female model, and whether they are actually required for the concept or not is altogether a different issue. This speaks volumes about how obsessed the world really is with beauty and how marketing media is exploiting the same for their vested interests, by seducing us with pretty pictures promising happiness and good times only to be disappointed later, after being thrown-off financially. The fetish is growing like wild fire. Every job interview now-a-days requires candidates to look like runaway fashion models, complete with “professional make-up”.

From aesthetically-appealing surroundings, to good looking attendants and glossy magazines with incomprehensible names for over-priced eatables – the organizations these days, be it airlines, resorts and spas, hotels or I.T. companies, are leaving no stone unturned in luring their way into customer’s pockets. In our weakness the profiteers have learned an invaluable lesson and they are not willing to stop. It’s up to us, hence, to know better and to judge better; be more aware as citizens and individuals. If it’s so easy to seduce our souls then how can we call ourselves responsible and/or moral? How different are we really from a kid lured by sweets and unable to see reality?

The twisted ideas of beauty have played enough games with our minds. It’s time they stop. One must never go by the advertisements alone and trust one’s own judgment because the chances of fraud are very high. It’s very important that customers make an informed decision now more than ever. With the World Wide Web to our rescue, it has made researching for the best deals a lot easier, but also it makes cheating easier for the fraudulent organizations.  It’s very easy to fall into a honey-trap so prior to making a purchase, weigh all pros and cons. In light of all the relentless effort at selling beauty for vanity’s sake alone, it’s entirely inappropriate to throw bundles of green-seeking visual orgasm. A picture is maybe worth a thousand words, but not when it has been “photoshoped “ to perfection in order to assail the customer’s senses and take over them completely. It’s okay to appreciate natural beauty but not when it comes at a cost, literally.