April 07, 2008

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day














Do you feel you over-consume?

Do you think the United States over-consumes?

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yummy - makes me want a supersize Big Mac meal...gag.

Anonymous said...

Yes all the time, I feel Im visiting from another planet. Just yesterday driving to a friends house, most of the other drivers talking on cell phones, racing by 20 over the speed limit. Drove by many shopping malls and the parking lots were filled, fat americans wadding behind their extra big shopping cards. My wife and I are in good shape and can't figure out how long you have to be a lazy POS to get that big. Please help the kids growing up this crap. I love when I buy something and it comes with some extra crap and I turn it down, I love to watch the clerk face

emmy said...

In some ways, we overconsume in the house, as we all love our gadgets, computers in particular. But we don't drive much, and aren't very wasteful by American standards. We have a fuel efficient house, and aren't reckless spenders. Yet, it is hard to be an American and not overconsume.

Brian said...

Americans have developed an almost reactionary consumer impulse.

Honestly, I truly believe that when the consumption train finally crashes into the brick wall of insolvency, the following will happen:

1) American consumers will go through a horrible withdrawal tantrum.

2) After a period of reflection, many, if not most, will be grateful for the change.

My predictions for 2010-ish:

People will brag about how fuel-efficient their cars are.

People will brag about how much they have in savings and how little they spend.

A paid-off mortgage will be the holy grail.

Only boat or camper owners will drive SUVs.

And the biggest prediction of all?

Drum roll...

All these dumbass consumers will act like they "saw this coming a mile away".

We're all HPers now!

brian t said...

Sure I overconsume... everyone overconsumes, if they can. It's in our genes. The fact that some nations consume less than others is not out of some inherent moral superiority or wisdom, but because it's more difficult for them to do so.

In general, that is: There are Blobs in Bangladesh, and I remember Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the famous Pakistani singer, who died of a heart attack at 48. There are Americans who could have learned a thing or two, from him, about Conspicuous Consumption. He weighed as much as a Tuk Tuk when his heart went Kablooie.

Stuck in So Pa said...

A big YES!

We buy, consume, and throw away, but we don't repair anymore because it's too expensive.

99% of what we buy, as soon as it breaks(usually two days after the warranty is up) we pitch it!

Coming from parents who saved and repaired just about everything(within reason,) this makes me ill.

But then again, stuff today is not made to be repaired, and if you don't have to replace your widget every year, some poor Chinese worker will be out of a job!

FedUp said...

Damn, giving me the munchies!Think I will go get a big mac,fries and a coke plus a wide screen tv to watch while I sit and eat.Hope that hdtv will fit in the hummer. Maybe if we tilt it in sideways!

Life is good.

Anonymous said...

No

Yes

I love this blog!

Anonymous said...

Yes we consume a lot. That's because we are rich and can afford to indulge. However this is a function of wealth. A rich person in China is as glutenous as a rich person in California or Germany. It's not a question of nationality. I know it's always blame America with you, but try to keep an open mind.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_
Business/IL20Cb01.html

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem is that most Americans over consume and produce nothing as a result. Thousands of calories gained from fast food that isn't fit for a dog and thousands of dollars spent on idle entertainment have created the saddest examples of humanity in history. I'm talking about the masses of grotesque waddling ballons of lard that shuffle through suburban malls with rolls of fat bulging through the gaps in their clothes. The dull expressions on their faces and the endless mutterings about meaningless trivia on sports games and movies.

This is what America has become - a corrupt, mindless, gelatinous blob that wastes and consumes the worlds resources and leaves a steaming pile of immoral and inane "culture" in it's wake.

Anonymous said...

Those Kids in McDonald's look like illegal immigrants to me.

vp said...

Yes we consume a lot. That's because we are rich and can afford to indulge.
-------------------------------------
Americans are not rich and cannot afford tho indulge; they are credit card and HELOC rich! To hell with that "wealth"!

wc said...

Yes - I'm starting to feel bad about plastic waste and driving to work in general even though I only have a 3 mile ride. And I always feel bad if I've bought something like strawberries and left them to rot in the vegetable bin. Though I don't think I over-consume as much as other people I encounter in my ordinary daily view of the world - I'm quite sure I'm not nearly as materialistic. I have the money to buy a flat screen or a better car or a bigger place but I don't feel the need to have them and I have never, ever uttered the word yes to the questions "can I supersize that for you?" or "would you like to make it a combo?"

LibVet said...

"everyone overconsumes, if they can"
brian t

No, they don't.

Anonymous said...

Betcha those two kids at McDonalds are Republicans.

LM said...

FYI those fat kids in the McDonalds pic are European. Italians I believe. It goes back to an old news article about how Europeans where eating more and more fast food.

Anonymous said...

I feel soooo guilty! Can we please pay extra taxes to feed the world?? Can we please?

tom said...

Judging by some of the posts here, it seems that (some of) we Americans feel entitled to be able to waste what we want - this is sad.

I turn off the water when I'm brushing my teeth - I know I'm still more wasteful with water than 95% of the other people in the world :(

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I feel soooo guilty! Can we please pay extra taxes to feed the world?? Can we please?

Andrew you are needed here. Please bring the bamboo skewers.

JaneZ

Anonymous said...

Of course the USA overconsumes, but if we stop, many more will starve, as its our overcomsumption that supplies many jobs around the world.

Do you not get that?

F*ckt@rd.

Anonymous said...

Does America overconsume? OH ABSOLUTELY!

Do I overconsume? You decide--

I haven't owned a car since Sep 2003.
In 2002 and 2003, I had a walking commute.
In 2004 and 2005 I had a bicycle commute 8 months a year, and metro the rest of the time.
In 2006 I metroed.
In 2007 and now for 2008 I have a bicycle commute year round.
The bike I use nearly every day is about 2 years old--the one before that lasted about 12 years before the frame just gave out on a ride.
From 1995 through 2001 I lived in 650 square feet.
From 2002 to 2007 I owned 1250 square feet.
Now I'm sharing 1500 square feet with my girlfriend.
Last year I put my 18 year old 25" TV into a special electronics recycling program, after years of living with three serious problems (sound, corner of picture, and on/off button.) I'm sharing my girlfriend's 27" TV now.
I have kept each of my computers years after their obvious obsolescence, even though computers are part of my career.
For years until recently I had the cheapest, crappiest, simplest cell phone you can have, one made for teens.

Do I deny myself because I'm poor? NO! My individual and household incomes are in the top 6% in each category. I just have learned over the years that BUYING ALL THAT CRAP DOESN'T MAKE ME HAPPIER. In fact, when that stuff breaks, as it always does, it makes me LESS happy.

The way I figure it, it's a contest between YOU and the PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO GET YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY. If they get it away from you, YOU LOSE.

And the crap itself is a demand on your TIME.

I once thought I'd be the first person I knew to have a big-screen TV. Now I intend to be the LAST one I know. And my next car will probably be--another bike. Or if NECESSARY, a hybrid compact.

I do have a few indulgences:
Handcrafted solid wood furniture.
Books.
Continuing professional education.

I find these things don't tend to break, get stolen, or turn out to be junk.

AZDavidPhx said...

The last time I was in a shoppping mall was the get my wrist-watch sized.

Looking around was a pretty pathetic sight. It was like a bunch of mindless cows grazing around a farm and inhaling Starbucks products like it was their life blood.

I could not understand how the majority of the stores even stay in business selling ridiculous items from fancy soaps to weight gain supplements. I was asking myself the entire time, "Who seriously spends money this s---?"

Apparantly lots of Americans do.

Everyone is pushing around baby strollers; undoubtedly exposing the maturing minds of the next generation to frivolous consumption in the same fashion that suicide bomber cartoon characters are seen on Iran's Kids Tv channel.

I won't even go into the Food Court. Good lord. Wouldn't want any of these people to miss a meal in between their epic quests to the As-Seen-On-TV store.

I figured that I was just being a Grinch; unable to take pleasure in the flagrant materialism emanating from all around me.

Keyser Soze said...

Personally, I enjoy my old clothes, my old Martin, my old paintings, my old albums, my old friends....even like Joni Mitchell's song "My Old Man"
I am a marketers worst nightmare.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I rent,

I drive a 96 chev pick-up,

We have NO credit card debt!

I just lost 15 lbs

Do we over-consume.......sure!


Does America over-consume....Yes!


If people are dumb enough to overspend on crap they don't need, let'em, it's their money! Just don't bail them out later!



.

Too late said...

We can't help but to be consumers. Where do mosts American's get their food? Do they grow it? Do Americans have vegetable gardens anymore? Sure, there's a lot of people with a green thumb, but I'll bet if you tracked it, you'd find that the percentage of home gardens has dropped.

Not only do we consumer more stuff, but that stuff is much more expensive. When I was a kid, a game was a board game that didn't require electricity to operate. Maybe a battery if it was really amazing. Now, when you say game, kids will ask you which console you're talking about. THis past Christmas, parents were camping out for...something...some game system that was the latest and greatest. People were waiting in line to pay HUNDREDS of dollars!!
You've got to be kidding me???

Do we fix our own stuff around the house? Or do we hire someone to do it? Even stuff like mowing the lawn. It's so weird to me: people in my neighborhood hire some guy (most likely an illegal) to mow their credit card-sized lawn once a week. And I get the funny looks when I'm out there mowing my own. WTF??

I think we've created our own monster. Maybe people will get more fuel efficient cars, but that's not going to do it. The jobs just won't magically reappar in the US.
We need to overhaul our entire culture and way of thinking. It's going to take generations. And it's probably too late.

Andrew from Russia said...

Yes/Yes.

Search the web for "ecological footprint calculator" and check your sustainability score. Mine is about 1.3 Earths, the biggest luxury being... heating.

Noodles said...

Keith, very good article in the washington post about the other bubble. hat tip from me to National Bubble blog
http://tinyurl.com/3kejzm

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

I was reading an interesting piece about how the government statistics and opportunist politicians like Obama misrepresent who the "poor" are.

The #1 health problem facing the "poor" in America today isn't hunger, but obesity.

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BubbleGirl said...

I do feel sometimes that I overconsume but compared to most people in this country, I would say I don't overconsume. In the past 6 years of my life, I have slowed down my consumption and I am saving so much more money than ever before. I was never frivolous and extravagant with my spending but there are a few things, like some clothes, that I really didn't need and ended up not using. I pissed myself off with that and I now am very careful with what I buy. I am very careful with my money now.
I do feel that as a country, society, we overconsume and I am disgusted by this consumer-driven society. I've been extremely disgusted.

I almost feel empowered driving our 1994 Nissan Altima that has 185,000 miles on it and we will drive that car into the ground. I feel like I'm saying "F*$k you people with big, shining and hugely expensive SUVs or other luxury cars." We owe no money on the Nissan and I just feel like we (my husband and I)are smarter than others and live under our means. Our first car is a Toyota Corolla (2005). Some day we might have to get another second car when the Nissan dies, but we will get a very used, economical car.

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

PS - Yes, I overconsume, and unlike many people here who would like to go backwards and have us all living in huts, I have no shame about overconsuming. Enjoying material wealth was sort of the entire point of being an entrepreneur, author, etc.

I agree that there is plenty wrong with someone who overconsumes on credit and HELOC money and goes into debt, but you people who brag about driving a tattered old car and living in filth are equally as f*cked up in the head.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Of course the USA overconsumes, but if we stop, many more will starve, as its our overcomsumption that supplies many jobs around the world.

Do you not get that?

F*ckt@rd.

Please America keep stuffing your faces, belching, farting and slobbering down those burgers and fries. Above all don't ever stop shopping for crap you could never afford on your salary alone. The Third World is counting on us!!!

It is our moral imperative. It is the patriotic thing to do.

-F*ckt@rd

eric in vegas said...

I see more and more fat kids everyday and it's sad because when you see their parents you know they never had a chance.

Anonymous said...

i live in manhattan, so i can feel good about living in a 700 sf apartment and not owning a car. if i lived anywhere else in the country, who knows?

Anonymous said...

My wife is the electricity, water and recycle police officer in our house. She runs around turning off lights and puts everything on timers. We aren't allowed to wash our clothes unless it’s after 9PM. We can't water the grass unless its on schedule. We aren't allowed to throw paper in the wet trash bin. She bought green light bulbs for every socket in the house.


She won’t buy anything unless she has a coupon.

You would think we under consume by her efforts, but you would be wrong.



She installed a greenhouse and garden in the backyard in Feb. 6690.00. We are going green! We planted lots of veggies and herbs.


She remodeled the pool and patio last month. 9654.23. Put in Pebble Sheen, new decking, and new pool filter/pump equipment.

This week, she hired people to take down the “Popcorn ceilings” in every room of the house and is rewiring the entire house for lighting and security, then painting the entire inside (4500 sq ft). 11,652.00.



The three of us in our family (wife/kid/me) own 6 cars, 1 boat, a golf cart, 2 quads and 3 motorcycles and an RV. We have 2 bays in the auxiliary garage filled with skiing, boating, and camping and exercise equipment.

There are 3 HiDef TV’s in the house over 51”, and 3 - 42”
We have 3 Computers.
We have cleaning ladies, and a landscaper.
She has a personal trainer and a yogi spiritual guide.
We belong to The Country Club and 2 health clubs.

Of course, we use all that stuff to implement green policies in the house and lower our food bills.

Anonymous said...

sure i do...and will continue to do so

i enjoy my central heat, do you?

i enjoy my a/c, do you?

i enjoy running water, do you?

i enjoy electricity, do you?

before you feel so high and mighty about yourself, don't. the second you turn on your TV or fire up that laptop, you're "over" consuming compared to most of the world that is still living in the stone age

Anonymous said...

Lets see. The UN and world community told nations for the last 50 years to have smaller families.

I suppose the people with the smaller families have more. The retards who had 10 children for each family have less.

And you want me to "redistribute"? No deal commies and third world racist trash.

Mammoth said...

LESS is MORE.

Get it?

From the comments on this thread, it appears that some people here do.

Which is definetely a good thing!

Roccman said...

Useless eaters...even the fat kid.

Enjoy the die off!!!

Read the Feast of Malthus.

dieoff.com

zapparulez said...

Those are the two dumbest questions I've seen asked. Almost everyone in America over consumes one way or another and damn sure the other question is a yes!

Anonymous said...

All these dumbass consumers will act like they "saw this coming a mile away".

We're all HPers now!


------------
Oh shut your buzzer, you loser!

it's too late said...

Corporations don't help, either. My brother told me about how he and a friend of his went to the local Dodge dealership to pick up a special part. While there, the parts guy told them that they got a TSB stating that the onboard computer in model year 2000 vehicles will no longer be supported starting immediately!!! My brother asked the guy, "so if my computer blows out, and there is nothing else wrong with my car, what am I supposed to do?" and the guy behind the counter said, "you're gonna have to go to a junkyard to see if you can buy one there or scrap the whole car."

Can you believe that? You have a car, paid off in full, nothing wrong with it, doesn't have huge mileage, etc. But the computer goes out (as electronics have a tendency to do) and you're forced to either buy a junk/used computer or buy a new car.

The Housing Bubble Ate My Balls!! said...

Me No....
I drive a 17 YO car that gets 40 MPG, has no GPS, Blue Tooth, DVD Video, or voice control. She was getting a bit tired instead of getting of tossing her out and getting a new one, I am spending $4500 refitting it for another 200,000 miles, turning most of the wrenches myself. This year I purchased my first new shoes or clothes in 5 years, I buy good quality crap that doesn't wear out. My laptop is 8 years old, it may finally give up the ghost this year. My TV is 12 years old, it isn't flat and doesn't do HD. my cell phone is 6 years old, it doesn't play MP3s, do GPS, take pictures, My wife and I don't buy our kids every damn thing they want.

I don't have to do things that way, I make enough to be like everyone else, I just don't want to be, I like simple, I like things that work, I don't like being tied to stuff and what stuff costs...

Most of America.... YES!
I am absolutely amazed when I look around and see people and their stuff. It owns then it is all they are. It is vanity, it is consumwhorism, it is a joke. I am amazed when I visit people I know with the perfect middle class lives. They live in their Mc Mansions with pottery Barn catalog interiors, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances on the inside with a Mercedes and some sort of SUV on the outside. They are miserable and more often than not, medicated. The quality of life in the house is horrible there is no respect or love from kids. the whole family just co-habitates while each member pursues their own consumerist agenda, be it gadgets, webkinz, boats, golf clubs, etc..
They are disconnected.

"Fight Club" needs to be shown on TV more. Maybe they will slowly get it, after all it was made as a comedy. Way back in 1999 that film was making fun of consumwhores.

The Housing Bubble Ate My Balls!! said...

Anonymous said...
April 07, 2008 4:42 PM
"The way I figure it, it's a contest between YOU and the PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO GET YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY. If they get it away from you, YOU LOSE."


OMG!! I have never been able to put that feeling into words!!
THANK YOU!!!

Nick said...

I am an American and I am damn proud to be an American. We deserve all of those pictures of wealth you showed. We Americans account for 3% of the world's population but account for 25% of the world's GDP. So we are wealth creators and thus deserve all of the good things in life.

Anonymous said...

If you think about it, people from the Third World actually are a drag on the world's economy. We must come up with a, dare I say it, a final solution? All of those poor folks in India, China, Bangladesh, Africa, Central America, South America, and any where else should be dealt with so the world can prosper. Sorry to be cold. But that is the way it is.

John S said...

To determine "overconsumption" first define the "proper" level of consumption.

There is a silver lining to this, of course. Despite complaints that Americans are not "savers," a typical family of four is now closing in 1,200 lbs. of mostly fat. When the economy really hits the wall, assuming a clean water supply, a typical American family could survive 6 months or more without any food at all! Has anyone tried to put a monetary value on those trillions of stored calories?

Paid Off said...

Ever heard of planned obsolescence?
Wake up and realize that you are the victim of marketing. Only then will you be truly free.

slave labor said...

"If you think about it, people from the Third World actually are a drag on the world's economy. All of those poor folks in India, China, Bangladesh, Africa, Central America, South America, and any where else should be dealt with so the world can prosper. "
-------------------------------

WHOA WHOA wait a minute, I for one will NOT give up my cheap TVs, shoddy toxic toys, and heaven forbid my basmatti rice. Who the hell is gonna make my $8.00 flannel shirts? My $3.00/6 pairs socks? MY F-ING $1.00 STORE CRAP????
Fuggetaboutit, we need slave labor from the third world.....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

If you think about it, people from the Third World actually are a drag on the world's economy. We must come up with a, dare I say it, a final solution? All of those poor folks in India, China, Bangladesh, Africa, Central America, South America, and any where else should be dealt with so the world can prosper. Sorry to be cold. But that is the way it is.

I hope they outsource your job to those poor Third World folks Little Adolf.

I would love to put your arrogant little self on the ice flow. I will even cough up change for a baloney sandwich and chips and sing Amazing Grace as we push you out to sea.

Dare we call it The Final Solution?

JaneZ

mairca izda debol said...

What does it have to do with the skinny African kid? They've been starving for a thousand years becqause they breed like roaches and live in the freakin desert

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
April 07, 2008 4:42 PM
"The way I figure it, it's a contest between YOU and the PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO GET YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY. If they get it away from you, YOU LOSE."


OMG!! I have never been able to put that feeling into words!!
THANK YOU!!!


You're welcome! I think I got that wisdom from my dad and grandfather, although not in those words. Their version was:

"A part of all you earn is yours to keep."

One consequence of this wisdom: I TEND TO HATE AND DISTRUST SALESMAN.

Their MISSION is to get your money, and they get paid DIRECTLY from that getting, and, often, once they have it and you have some "thing"--they are OUT of the picture--do they care whether your "thing" serves you well or not? Generally, NO!!!!! (If they survive by repeat business and word-of-mouth, then they MIGHT tend to care about whether you THINK you were well served and got a good deal regardless of whether you actually were/did--which of course becomes a source of potential dishonesty and deception.)

American car companies and dealers have a LONG history of this ugliness, as reflected in the previous post on forced obsolescence. One reason I won't own a car unless forced to. Once in a great while when I need one, I have found Flexcar (now merged with Zipcar) to be perfect!

Back to the salesman thing--

Let's take a diet book, or an investment book. Do those people REALLY care if the scheme they are writing about actually works, FOR YOU? Well, NO, or at best, MAYBE. What they REALLY care about is---THEY GOT YOU TO BUY THE BOOK! Which is why book titles and topics for nonfiction have gotten WAY OUT to the sensationalist edge. The contents could be BS, but as long as they were able to suck you through the bookstore window straight to the checkout line...

And in the case of investing, if they are actually investing that way, then they really should NOT want you to invest that way and make money, because THEY are potentially on the OTHER SIDE of YOUR trade!

What's really sad is the relatively recent phenomenon of DOCTORS now being drug salesman--complete with free samples, golf-seminar trips to exotic locales, etc. You go to the doctor he says you need a drug--um, MAYBE NOT, maybe he's just on commission!

Which is why we have people on seven different drugs now, 3 of which aren't really effective and 3 others of which are to counteract the bad effects of the other 4!

And it's a reason why health costs have soared--it's Big Business now, so everybody (including anonymous investors) need to get their cut off your illness--assuming you are actually sick!

And of course, politicians are bought and paid for by corporations and special interests, so THEY are now salesman too, of special-interest polices. Which is why even Republican government just gets bigger and bigger--it's profitable! Government is Big Business and it's main goal will be EXPANSION, just like Starbucks, Apple Computer, or any other business.

And, back to this site's topic--of course REALTORS are pure salesman too! Especially since they have a legal obligation ONLY to the seller! So as a buyer, it's THREE AGAINST ONE! Which is really why EVERYONE's hating them right now.

Windonfish said...

I like your blog. I've read it a lot and think it has done immeasurable service to the folks lucky enough to stumble on it.

Your politics, and opinions, though, are schizophrenic at worst and faddish at best.

Jumping from Ron Paul to Obama makes no sense in any rational estimation.

None.

Repeat - none.

If you can tie (logically) your belief in Paul to your belief in Obama, you can handle cold fusion no problem.

Anonymous said...

I see God in the 1st child, happy to be eating anything.

It's no wonder that much of the world has distain for us. As far as being rich? Yeah, were rich with printed dollars financed by Asian Creditor Nations. Without them, we're 3rd world and f%&%$d.

Don't believe it. Just see what happens to the economy when everyone is forced to spend only what they earn - LMAO. Rich? How many of you big time Americans can even tap a pultry $100,000 cash from a non retirement account??

That's what I thought.....

Anonymous said...

From JaneZ....
"All of those poor folks in India, China, Bangladesh, Africa, Central America, South America, and any where else should be dealt with so the world can prosper"

Janie, who the hell do you think is paying the bills to keep America afloat. You damn well better remove China from your "final solutions" list, or America will be 3rd world as quick as you can power hot water over your instant oatmeal....