Our Power as a Consumer



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Back in the 70s in India, even though industrialization was gradually rising, the access to resources and goods to people were limited. Only the privileged or VIPs could afford to watch movies in the theatres, wear clothes by different brands, buy music etc. Hence, as the demand was limited, even supply was limited. But nowadays, with increase in globalization, industrialization and the decreasing gap between hierarchy, there has been a significant amount of growth in new companies providing similar forms of resources for all kinds of people.

For example, if you want to buy a decent pair of earphones, you don’t have to break your savings, you can get them for as cheap as Rs.50 to as expensive as Rs. 20,000. Similarly, one doesn’t have to spend 500rs on a movie ticket, they can just stream it online and enjoy the same movie that someone would enjoy in the theatre. As a result, the demand of goods has increased and more and more people are coming forward with their start-ups or new schemes providing facilities for the same.

Now, one can just pick up the phone, shoot, post it online for free and make money out of it. You don’t have to be a big director in the film industry with an education in filmmaking to get into the limelight. This has caused the increase of the quantity of goods and services available in the market for sure. This has also ensured a solid platform for the normal people with certain talent to showcase it with websites like Youtube, Instagram, Vimeo, etc. Those are the pros of globalization.

But since the competition is so fierce to sell a product amongst 500 other similar products, the quality of the product is somewhere getting compromised. People, in an attempt to sell their products at the cheapest price, compromise on the quality by replacing the superior quality materials with cheap ones. This is not only limited to goods and products, but also the entertainment industry.

There was a time when movies like Swades, Lagaan etc were booming in the theatres with their unique stories and intense acting skills. But with the limitation of platforms being taken away, many people who had the money started coming up with their own movies and that started blurring the consumers' purpose from utility to leisure.

People started consuming unnecessary stuff because it was readily available, without thinking if they actually needed it. People started watching any movie just to pass time, without thinking if the content is appropriate and fruitful or not.

While we live in a democratic secular country where anyone has the right to publish or put forth anything that they want, as consumers, we have to realize that we need to maintain a moral compass which nowadays is going haywire.

With every purchase we make, we are contributing something somewhere. It can be money given to local businesses which help them grow, or buying something like excess plastic and polluting the environment. Similarly, for films, the moral compass of consumers indulging in cinema is getting blurry day by day and hence movies portraying sensitive topics, offensive topics using wasteful ways have been on the rise. In all of this, the talent that is working hard to make an impact on people and help enhance humanity are getting lost in the fog.

I am not saying that we should banish all the products that don’t appeal to us, I am saying that we should realize that we have immense power as consumers, because in the end, all these companies, just like the government are for the people, by the people and off the people. So if we make little changes in our consuming habits like buying from the local businesses instead of insisting on brand name and spends tons of money, we can not only help the needy but maintain a balance between utility and leisure. We also need to start thinking about the environment and avoid things like plastic in our items to help us preserve our mother nature.

Did you know that every toothbrush you have ever used still exists on this planet on some landfill? Gross right? Why don’t we switch to toothbrushes made with natural materials like bamboo which are biodegradable? Right now, the plastic toothbrush is cheaper and bamboo toothbrushes are expensive. But only when we fix our moral consumer compass and realize the impact of this change, we will be able to bring about any change in the situation.

It’s high time we realize that every action has either a benefit or a consequence. Which side do we want to be on? We, as consumers, have immense power to change the market and the world, so why not use it by educating ourselves about the market, make smart choices and ultimately contribute in making the world a better place for everyone?