The Change In Consumerism Anthropology Essay

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Businesses and many establishments have realised that wealthy consumers are the most potential targets group for their products and goods. The upper class lifestyles and taste standard is what they are seeking to fulfill their desire. Purchasing expensive goods and lifestyle can be said to 'improved social status. Celebrities' endorsing commercial products and filming of advertisements nowadays is being seen as desire of modern consumers to buy the products partly just to emulate people of higher social status.

2.1. On the national fronts, earlier this year The Straits Times that banks here had file an increasing     number of cases of bad debts resulting from default payment of credit card loans among the young in Singapore. Strangely enough, a recent news reports shows that the banks are moving towards lowering the income floor for credit card application. Findings from the recently concluded General household survey in Singapore show that the top 10 percentile of the high income learners had an average of 15% increased. And increasingly, there is a widening gap between the lower and higher income group. Surveys also shows that we are spending a lot more than what we need in life. Working in a job you hate, Buying things that is not necessary, trying to impress people you don't like. We have been encouraged to buy things, it is stated that economy would improve if people buy more and spent more on it. Many consumers are using rooms in their homes to store the things that they buy. If those products were so essential, then why do the products need to be warehoused? An over loaded of things has lessens our value of what we possess. We have set ourselves in an endless quest for the attainment of material things to fulfil our desires. Since consumerism began, various individuals and groups have sought an alternative lifestyle. In many contexts, consumerism is used to describe the people to identify strong with the products and the services they consume, especially those with commercial brandings. Consumption has been part of our history for many years, the level of consumption beyond basics has been exponential and is now many parts of economies. Luxuries and desires that had to turn into necessities to fulfil our needs and how our cultural habits had to be transformed for consumption.

2.2. In the early years, design fulfilled our needs and it is something very close to us as in necessities that cannot be neglected in our everyday life. Designers have created something that makes people feel that this is what we need and what we wanted. Over the years, things had changed. As technology has been advancing, design is also changing and evolving. Consumers have been exposed to more design. The knowledge to what people consume has improved drastically. There comes the problem, more and more design over the years led to more and more comparison and so, more requirements had to be met for this. More and more designs are made to adhere the needs of the consumers and clients. But should designer really just be adhering to the needs only or should designers be innovative and create a 'trend' that has a impact on peoples' life? As a designer we offer solutions to the needs of consumers. But in a way, creating a design that connects deeply and leave a impression to the consumer. It is very important that the design should deeply affect the consumers. If we are living in the world where designers are only adhering to the desire of consumers and constantly changing the design to comply with consumers, it doesn't question the people and make them think. Design in consumer market has been rising. There is a lot of money made and a lot of influence by the people that promote consumerism. We are paying for limited economic mobility, pollution, and threats to health. All of these problems, it led to cultural breakdown of family ties also. Design is one of it that is responsible for all of these problems. Now we prefer our anonymity as well as the multiplicity of things available to us in the market, all these convenience and pleasures is taking away the time we spent with our families and friends. Different types of building production have different degrees of relationship to consumerism. A shopping mall may have a strong relationship because its appearance may serve to attract shoppers and another value to the experience of acquiring the goods offered. Because consumerism is dependent on stimulating consumption and adding qualities of identity, consumerist buildings important category of architectural production that needs to be communicating with the public.

2.3. "Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table." Charles Pierre Monselet, French author (1825-1888). Dining is not just eating, we are all connection with these interactions on the dining table. A dining environment a restaurant for example, may create something in hopes of changing the society to view in different aspects. Due to all these leisure and entertainments that is taking up most of the time in our life, people neglect the importance of dining together as a family or a group. The dinner table, whether situated at home or a restaurant, is a site for the enactment of social relations between adults and children, between husband and wives, men and women, and the 'world'. Many F&B establishments main vision is to obtain maximum income for the company and overlooked the importance of the relationship between the 'family unit' and the 'world' outside. An investigation were made, 1001 people were surveyed in three cities England - London, Bristol and Preston. Quite a number of people said that they did not mind long intervals before ordering or between courses. But they were susceptible to feeling unduly hurried. It was even more widely observed that staff might hover around and waiting to take your plates away and hope to vacate the table soon so that other customers can be accommodated. Formality is also one of the issues when dining out in public. Reference of formality often refers to the aspect of meal experience, dress rules body posture and the timing and people are aware that they might be made to feel uncomfortable if they go to certain types of restaurant in particular to those excessively formal. Relaxation and avoiding embarrassment were important. People are concerned that they should always behave appropriately, including being quiet and physically restrained, and so forth. Pressure to 'dress up', something which may relate to most establishments as well as the presence of strangers making people feel pressured and uncomfortable to dine. As a fact dining in a commercial venue inevitably means eating in a company of strangers. The levels of privacy and atmosphere between commercial and homes may vary a big difference. Some may feel awkward and uncomfortable while some may feel that they are out to be on show a little bit. Because of the resistance around the dining tables outside of our homes. Bringing people to dine outside of their homes sharing the togetherness is a very difficult task. Most of the diners just want to eat and leave and not even comfortable with the presence of the staffs around. And some would just want to dine in a quiet and very private environment. With the help of findings and understanding, to create a relaxed and comfortable environment for consumers to gather. Idea of the design is to offer diners the opportunity to have a certain degree of self management and control depending on the particular commercial operations. One of the following example which is the restaurant at grand hyatt Singapore Brix - Mezza 9 which has a very pleasant dining environment for relaxation and privacy. As the name suggests, mezza9 is located on the mezzanine level and showcases nine unique dining concepts in a contemporary environment and exclusive private rooms suitable for small private get together. The ambience and materials gives a very comfortable 'feel' of being at home. The soft lightings in the bar give a sense of privacy in the space although the tables are only next to each other. This is an example of an ideal environment for intimate get together or business meetings.

3.1. In conclusion, the concepts used to evaluate service in commercial establishments are time, efficiency and aspects of regime. This kind of applications supports different conclusions and consumers recognize the different types of place and associate it with different regimes. When there is a reference made there are ranking to the degree of formality and that defines the atmosphere in the environment.  To offer diners more relaxation and comfort in the restaurant I believe that from consumer's point of view, they would want more privacy during dining. A preference to eat at the home of friends and family was related to pleasure of relaxation and the restriction in observing formal rules of public conduct. An ideal environment for dining is to offer diners a sense of privacy and relaxation in dining but at the same time enable interactions with the public getting pass with the awkwardness and embarrassment.  Offering diners a glimpse of togetherness and interactions in the restaurant. Reducing the difference between public interaction and the familiarities of comfort of being at home.

CULTURAL & CONTEXTUAL STUDIES

Consumerism

Importance around the dining table

Ng Junsen Wesley (10010)

Module Title:  CULTURAL & CONTEXTUAL STUDIES 2B

Module Code: DE2307

Level: 2/SEMESTER 2 - 2009/10

Lecturers: Daniel Pillai, Sian Jay, Anita Nevens

References

  • Consumed , Benjamin R.Barber

  • Consumption, Critical concepts in the social science

  • Consuming life, Zygmunt Bauman

  • Contradiction of consumption, Tim Edwards

  • Consuming Cultures, Edited by Jeff Hearn and Sasha Roseneil

Websites

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumerism

Abstract

A great change in consumerism had arrived before the industrial revolution. In the nineteenth century, capital developments and the industrial revolution. Revolution that brings us more convenience in our life. But it started to shift us away from our value of community, spiritual, and integrity, and bringing us toward more competitions and disconnection among our communities, friends and family. Over the years, the level of consumption beyond basics has been exponential and is now many parts of economies. Luxuries and desires that had to turn into necessities to fulfil our needs and how our cultural habits had to be transformed for consumption. All of these problems, it led to cultural breakdown of family ties due to all these leisure and entertainments that is taking up most of the time in our life, people neglect the importance of dining together as a family or a group. With the help of findings and understanding, to create a relaxed and comfortable environment for consumers to gather. To offer diners more relaxation and comfort in the restaurant enable interactions with the public getting pass with the awkwardness and embarrassment and creating that comfort of being at home.

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