Changing Views of Consumerism

Americans’ Attitude Toward Consumption May Be Shifting

BusinessNewsDaily Staff
Date: 28 February 2012 Time: 11:21 AM ET


greed, hoarding, money, generousity
CREDIT: Dreamstime

Marketers trying to keep their finger on the pulse of American consumers’ shopping preferences may want to take notice of a new survey that suggests Americans are becoming more concerned with substance than they are with appearances.

That’s the finding of a new survey from mini car makersmart USA and Harris Interactive which found that the majority of Americans surveyed preferred smarts and substance over good looks or flashy material possessions.

The survey, which was conducted online in December and included more than 2,000 American  adults, found that 88 percent – both young and old, male and female – would prefer to date a person who is intelligent and philanthropic over someone who is simply attractive.

The survey also found the following:

  • Nearly 7 out of 10 (69 percent) Americans would prefer their spouse to speak another language than have washboard abs
  • Almost 3 in 5 (59 percent) Americans would rather have their partner gain 20 I.Q. points than lose 20 pounds
  • An astonishing 95 percent of women and 80 percent of men would prefer to date someone who is smart and philanthropic like Reese Witherspoon or George Clooney than someone with a pretty/handsome face like Megan Fox or Alex Rodriguez

Survey respondents also indicated that their days of over consumption may be numbered.

  • 97 percent of Americans believe that at least some of the items in their household are junk (i.e., they could easily get rid of it)
  • Nearly one out of 10 (9 percent)  Americans believe they can part with a full half of their stuff
  • 9 percent of Americans believe that 51-100 percent of the items in their household are junk

“The fact that a majority of Americans are deeply concerned with right-sizing their lifestyles and making intelligent choices shows why smart has so much curb appeal today,” says smart USA General Manager Tracey Matura. “People are rethinking whether bigger is actually better and focusing instead on value. They’re looking at how they can cut down the clutter in their lives, whether in their choice of vehicle, home or other purchases, so they have fewer, better things rather than simply more, more, more. And smart is proof that good things do come in small packages.”

Challenges of Gluten Free Living


Ron Mattocks

Adventures In Going Gluten-Free

Posted: 9/23/11 08:26 AM ET

I never suspected that 39 would be the age when I had to consider that I may actually be mortal.

Not that I’m a Greek god, but at six-foot one, 190 pounds (give or take), my body’s always been naturally fit — until recently anyway. Over the course of the past 10 months, I’ve experienced recurring back problems, suffered from chronic fatigue and been diagnosed with astigmatism. I feel this is fundamentally unfair, especially considering that at 39, Brad Pitt hadn’t even married Jennifer Aniston, let alone thought about playing daddy to six children with Angelina Jolie. And yet, here he is nearly a decade — a decade — older than I am and still flaunting sit-up-free abs that could be mistaken for rumble strips, while mine are starting to resemble something closer to a single, large speed bump!

My most recent ailment has been the addition of an intolerance to gluten. This should’ve come as no surprise given that the hereditary nature of this autoimmune disease means a sizable portion of my mother’s side of the family already deals with this minor inconvenience. Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, young and old, are affected by the gluten gene or some form of it. And even though it’s shown up at varied stages of our lives, like a coven of vampires who can trace their origins back to a single point of origin, we all agree that our vampire creator is Grandma. Of course, no one blames her — these things can’t be controlled — and furthermore, after two colonoscopies, I can attest to the fact that Grandma feels sorry about the whole thing.

Let me back up here for a moment. Yes, you read that correctly. I’ve already been subjected to a pair of colonoscopies before having reached the required age for AARP membership (even though my wife believes I should be admitted on a honorary basis considering how often I yell at the television). In both cases, however — and I’m not kidding — the clinic staff claimed that while waking from the anesthesia, I called out my grandmother’s name. Coincidence? Maybe. What I believe, though, is that in my unconscious state, Grandma appeared in my dreams to apologize for the reason behind why a camera was presently snaking its way up toward my intestines. In turn, I tell her there’s no need to apologize for something that’s not her fault. Then I ask why, on top of the whole gluten thing, she had to pass along the virus that caused her lips to break out with cold sores. It really made for some awkward dating situations in high school.

I’ve been gluten free now for several months, which comes off sounding as if I’m some sort of addict celebrating his most recent stint of sobriety. To some extent there are temptations to fall off the wagon — for me it’s pie — yet by recalling the consequences, I can maintain my resolve. What’s irritating to me, however, is expending all the energy in staying disciplined only to be “glutened” (that’s what they call it) from eating something you never would’ve suspected contained gluten. Twizzlers for example, and Play Doh for Pete sakes! I love Twizzlers. I used to eat whole bags at one shot, which of course, explains a lot about the next day’s events — not anymore. Play Doh, on the other hand, although surprising, doesn’t bother me as much. It’s a bit bland to me, and to be honest, I’ve never really been much of an arts-and-crafts kind of guy.

The grocery store is another matter. I’ll give them credit for expanding their gluten-free offerings, but why these items are placed in the same aisle as 85 percent of the manufactured baked goods produced by Pepperidge Farms, Mrs. Bairds and Sara Lee seems counterproductive in my opinion. It’s almost as if someone’s trying to play a game of “Stump the Chump” at the expense of my defect digestive tract.

For their part, the companies dedicated to making gluten-free products are doing a good job from what I can tell, although, I would like to pick the brains of those responsible for naming these items. My question to them would be why do they think forcing the word gluten into the product’s nomenclature is a solid marketing strategy? Glutino, Glutimins, Glutes — all brand names whose sole function is reminding me of what I am to avoid eating while simultaneously revealing to the cashier my embarrassing secret in same way it would if I were to hand her a tube of Vagisil.

In light of all the above, I then find it both annoying and amusing that anyone would choose a gluten-free diet as a means of being trendy. Such was the case a few weeks ago during a friend’s birthday dinner where a hip, single lawyer in her late twenties went on and on to my wife about how healthy it was to be gluten-free even if you don’t need to be.

“The other day, I had this thing with tomatoes, and onions and chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla. Sooo good.”

“Flour tortillas have gluten in them,” my wife said.

“Gluten’s in flour?” The lawyer sounded genuinely surprised by this Gluten-101 factoid. “Well then I must be gluten intolerant because I was pooping all night after that.”

Pooping. Classy — and from a lady who just explained why she prefers shopping at Neiman Marcus over Saks

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