Being in the era of microwaves, fast food, quick service, express lanes, etc., consumerism has created the demand for everything to be done quicker, faster, now! Quality is sometimes sacrificed to meet the demand to deliver quicker. Businesses rise and fall based on their ability to deliver now days… once it was based upon the quality of service.

I recall a time when the burgers you bought actually looked like the mouth-watering pictures of them on their display board.

I recall when a cashier would greet you with a smile and engaged in some sociable conversation, used words like “please” and “thank you” AND knew how to count back change into your hand. And because I shopped at the same place more than once, would also know and use my name.

I recall a time when an item simply had a price rise because it was more expensive to produce and not like today where companies now reduce the size or weight of the product and sell it for the same price as the original… a price rise but with the sense of being ripped off. Cadbury chocolate and paddle-pop lovers will know what I mean.

I recall a time when I went to a ‘Service’ station and the car was filled up for me AND the windscreen was cleaned, the oil and water, and even the tire pressure was checked!

I recall a time when savings was what you had in the Bank and not what you get when you have to buy more to pay less… I still can not come to grips with the statement “buy 10 of these and save”… um, I didn’t save anything; I just spent money!

It is amazing how we get caught up in the rat-race and come to accept all these changes in the name of expediency, efficiency and cost savings. We are driven to doing more, spending more and to doing it, whatever ‘it’ is, faster and more often.

Some say we can ‘voice’ our opinion when we are not happy with a change. That’s true and we shouldn’t give up doing that… but be aware that market savvy promoters know how to manipulate the masses. Take the recent change to Vegemite by adding cheese and other ‘enhancements’ to it, to created a product called i-Snack 2.0. Controversy! After the howling down by people the product name was changed to CheesyBite. What a brilliant marketing campaign by Kraft! It wasn’t the name that was the real issue but the fact that an iconic product called Vegemite was being changed so that the American consumer market would be able to find Vegemite palatable…the name fiasco simply took the focus off what was actually in the new product (have you compared Vegemite & CheesyBite nutritional content *shudder*). Classic redirection. And the ‘masses’ bought it… CheesyBite is now a product on the shelves.

So, am I against progress or change? No. But change should be to the benefit of the recipient and not done for the sake of change alone or for the feeding of greed. I don’t know about you but I also don’t like it when I am manipulated. However, the reality is that we are swept along with the crowd and don’t do much about it… we are our own worse enemies! 

So what can we do?

I take my inspiration from Jesus:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.
Mark 12:41

Firstly, Jesus took time out to sit down and observe.

Go smell the roses. This simply means to take some time out to ‘relax’. And when I mean relax, I mean to actually sit quietly, enjoy some nature for ‘free’. Go sit in a forest, in a park, in the lounge chair. Lay on a beach or in a grass field. You don’t have to have an i-Pod blaring in your ears and the mobile turned on. Just take some time to sit, ponder and observe your surroundings. Wind down.

Then, like Jesus, when you have learnt to do that without feeling anxious or irritated, and have overcome the overwhelming desire that you have to do something to ‘busy’ yourself, go to a bustling shopping mall, sit down quietly, relax and observe the passing people rushing by, shopping and being gobbled up in consumerism.

You will never be the same again.  You will gain an insight into life that will both surprise you and delight you!

In the Biblical example Jesus observed the following:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.   But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.   Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44

This was observed in an environment where Jesus was exposing the ‘consumerism’ of their day:

The large crowd listened to him with delight. As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,  and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.  They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
Mark 12:37f-40

You are busy… I know… so, book it into your diary, planner, PDA or i-Phone and go and take some time out this week to smell the roses.