Consumer Kids and Their Plastic Lives

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I went to Bath & Body Works at the mall one morning just before the Christmas shopping season. There I was, an adult with a good job and a career, and I was scrounging for sales and coupons so that I could spend $10 and get items worth $33. In the checkout line there was a woman and her daughter — the girl was about 10 years old and very chubby. The woman was buying a bunch of expensive lotions, fragrances, etc., and she put it on a charge card. The clerk asked the lady for her email to update the computer, and the lady replied that the items were “her daughter’s purchase.” So the girl, with a huge smile on her face, gave the clerk her email and got her bag of luxury-item goodies. The child then turned around to leave the store. I then noticed the words plastered on her t-shirt in huge, obnoxious letters:

I Love to Shop
AND SPEND MY MONEY
All the Time

Unfortunately, that little girl is merely a poster child for the rest of America’s children as a result of the intemperance of the bubble years, brought to us by the government’s money machine, the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s expansion of credit and the money supply gave birth not only to all those “no money down” subprime mortgages but the “buy now, pay later” culture of credit-card debt, mountains of which the American public piled up throughout the Greenspan/Bernanke years.

So there was Mom, teaching her child that at 10 years old she too can have luxury items at premium prices, because life is all about spending money (Mom and Dad’s money) and accumulation. Perhaps Mom should be teaching her young daughter about preserving her body and health for the long term, instead of blasting through the malls putting her random desires on charge cards? The child’s obesity, the adult luxury items on a credit card, the t-shirt declaring that accumulation brings pleasure — these are all signs of a depraved and appalling culture that is destroying a large segment of the current generation. Parents are zealously passing on their financial irresponsibility and spiritless lives to their children. That woman’s brainless imprudence will become that poor child’s future.

Years of credit bubble-ignited consumer excesses in America have produced one aftermath that is markedly tragic — the professional child consumer. Children learn, from a very early age, that life is enabled by money because it is money that buys them all the stuff they want to own. Kids have become professional consumers. They covet so they buy, courtesy of parents who are financial slaves to their children’s infantile impulses.

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Karen De Coster [send her mail] is a Certified Public Accountant, has an MA in Economics, and works in finance and accounting in the securities industry. See her website and her blog.

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