Sociology and Consumer Society

Sociology and Consumer Society

Why big supermarkets can sell cheap goods and small shops can’t compete ; Repressed can’t compete ; Conclusion -?do we have freedom of choice TAMPA Explore the claim that consumer society is characterized by freedom of choice. Introduction. ; My essay is going to look at the claim do we have a freedom of choice in Consumer Society , and is it characterized by different concepts or is it by hospice we shop and do things in certain ways.

Living in today’s consumer society gives us freedom of choice dependent on our status both social and financial. Consumer society is a society that is defined by what we buy and how we use things. Banyan defines consumers as either ‘Seduced’ or ‘Repressed’. Augment Banyan (1988) believes that “A consumer society promises choice and freedom to those who, because of their financial and social circumstances, are in a position to consume effectively’. This theory would appear to suggest that to live in a consumer society; we are actually resented with choices and freedoms depending on our social circumstances.

Consequently, we create differences and inequalities for those who cannot compete because of different sets of social circumstances. To discuss ‘do we have a choice in a consumer society’ we have to look at some of the differences and inequalities and how they are made on the streets of the K. It is a competitive environment within an ever changing society, moving from an industrial era to what is widely accepted as being a consumer society. The evidence of this is shown through materialistic spending patterns and social misusing behaviors.

Back in the industrial society different things were seen as more important like being a Trade Union Member or having the right to vote, nowadays these are deemed as important but not as important as having the right food in your shopping trolley, shopping in the right supermarket, wearing the latest fashion, driving the right car ,even having the right house in an affluent area so your child can go to the best school’s, in just a few short years the consumer society has changed slightly ‘the theory of self worth and identity’ seems to have been brushed away, the days of having secure job and job satisfaction is few and far between. For Buena, ‘these forms of freedom, expression and membership have faded into the background as industry has become less dominant in western Society (Banyan page). These people who shop or do things following these ‘rules’ are the ones who can choose to live this way, people with a fair income, never the less there are people who come from part the poorer class section, but still have these priorities,this is where class distinction falls into place, these types of people all seem to wear the same clothing -? track suits, drive similar cars, make ,drink and hang out with like minded people.

Similarly there is the second section of the poorer class who scrimps and saves and tries to have a choice in what they do or have in society. It would seem that everyone like Banyan states is seduced by our consumer society whether you work hard for your possessions or not.

Clearly the last two categories fall into the repressed bracket, you have people who may have worked hard but through no fault of their own have fallen on hard times due to illness or job loss, then there are the others who through Choice choose to to work and claim benefits, think people should not be judged on their social status due to the fact it is going back to the Industrial era where there seemed to be three status categories the wealthy , middle class and poor, but saying that the supermarkets, catalogue companies, pay day loans, door step loan companies make it so much easier for people to buy the next top of the range phone, car etc in one respect people do have a choice in the consumer market but on another respect they do not there is so much pressure nowadays -you go to the supermarket and it seems on every aisle there is an offer too good to miss ( buy one get one free -half price today, the lady stood on the corner offering tasters tattoo can’t refuse then just have to buy ). Bigger supermarkets can afford to give unbeatable offers due to buying in mass quantities cheaply and also the fact that most supermarkets are out of town offering easy access and everything under one roof.

Our choice Of supermarket is often ruled by our friends/work colleagues due to class distinction if we shop at the cheaper one noses get turned up, if we shop at the more expensive questions are asked ‘how can you afford . Supermarkets/ stores enticing you in through their doors goes back to the industrial era, where the early department stores first opened up to the wealthy seducing them with a variety of goods that before could only be bought from specialist people, it then progressed to letting the poorer working class in through the doors I. E Selfridges opened its doors to the wealthy then decided to hold the Penny sale days where the poorer could have a taste of the luxuries they sold, Woolworth then came along and catered for all walks of life.

Slowly over the ears the big stores have taken custom away from the smaller ‘corner’ shop causing many to close down due to too much price competition, many people preferring to go to the bigger shops with more choice and power to keep the costs down, only the faithful customers stay with the smaller shop. , but they seem to find it hard to do this as stated by Sociologist Dennis Wrong(1997) ‘power is understood as a zero-sum game’, subsequently the pro- supermarket lobby refer to it as a positive – sum game stating that all parties involved will benefit to some extent? Looking into the way supermarkets are aging over it is a case of Zero-sum game the small shops cannot compete with the power supermarkets have.

On the plus side the bigger stores create jobs right from the migrant workers who pick and pack the stock through to the employees of the stores all having job security, all the migrant workers are on minimum wages which gives the supermarkets power to sell the consumer goods at an acceptable price and be able to compete against one another. Taking Banyan’s argument that the seduced can create their own lifestyle and identity through consuming and expressing their own personality wrought choice , Choosing what they buy where they buy it and in effect the supermarkets give them the freedom of choice to do this, clearly some people do not have a choice and they have to consume their goods at cheaper supermarkets these being the repressed who have no choice in the matter have to go to the cheaper shops and more conveniently placed ones offering price satisfaction and freedom of ease to shop but in this argument again the supermarkets have Power over consuming.

In conclusion to this if you fall into the Seduced category where you have a secure job and have an income coming in you do eave the freedom of choice to shop where you like, buy nice things and live a good lifestyle and be able to form an identity and social membership, if you are in the repressed group you don’t have freedom of choice has such, due to not having much if any disposable income leaving limited places to shop and not being able to form an identity.

Please follow and like us:
Haven’t found the essay you want?