Your Fave Brands: Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged
Over the past few weeks, I've been exploding with disappointment about people in general. I don't know if I've become more sensitive over time, or people have become increasingly insensitive, but I'm ready to pack up and move to Sweden. If they'd have me.
I started to become tweaked a few months ago, when the iPhone 4S became available for purchase, and I witnessed subtle (and not-so-subtle) bashing of people who own Android phones. Of course, I took notice because I've had an Android phone for several years. My husband has an Android as well. What can I say? I do not like the Apple interface. I never did. Plus, I went to business school, and Apple products really aren't used there.
I bought an iPad two summers ago, and it really didn't work for us, so we sold it. We're just not Apple people. (Full disclosure: I do have an iPod.) Amazingly, though (and I'm not sure whether you'll believe it), that does not make me a less interesting, intelligent, or worthwhile person, as has been so cleverly suggested.
There's a similar issue with Target and Walmart, which is so well-documented, there is little need to elaborate, and Dunkin' Donuts versus Starbucks, or, more accurately, Starbucks versus everyone else. And guess what? There's very little I enjoy at Starbucks, besides the caffeine. It's kind of a Walk of Shame for me, leaving a register having basically paid the price of a pound of coffee for one cup. My parents would be embarrassed. And, no, to me, neither the ambiance nor the taste bridge the gap. Do I still buy it, though? Yes.
When did we become so Team Edward versus Team Jaco - Ohhhh ...
The notion that patronizing a particular store or preferring a particular brand sets one apart from others has become disgustingly prevalent and, frankly, I'm sick of it.
And this phenomenon spreads far beyond consumerism, which, I hate to break to you folks, brands love. Little or no effort to know your demographic. Makes consumer behavior, pricing, and marketing a snap. And, election season being upon us seems to be highlighting these differences further. All I see, everywhere I look, is what "side" I'm on (or not). If I wanted to pick sides about everything, I'd go back to second grade.
I've never been a sheep. In fact, I've gone to great pains to avoid being a sheep. If something becomes big, Harry Potter big or 50 Shades of Grey big, I avoid it like the plague. I think it's a knee-jerk reaction on my part, but I prefer not to go along with the crowd (in case you haven't noticed). Things stop being special to me when people are lined up for it in droves.
I also dislike the fact that a certain level of judgement comes along with consumer choices, that shopping at Target makes one superior to someone who shops at Walmart, someone who takes a call on an Android is less sophisticated than someone who takes a call on an iPhone. Really? What happened to individuality? Respecting differences? We all have to crowd a Target to fight over some Big Designer's limited-edition line? What if you don't care about that designer, or designers in general? What if you prefer a Windows-type interface on your phone?
What if the price of paper towels from Walmart is unbeatable, and you use a lot of them? What if you only know of one store where you can purchase an ungodly-sized box of diapers for your three toddlers, none of which are potty-trained yet? What if you can only find Wickles at that store? Does that make you an unclean, snaggle-toothed mouth-breather? I think not.
I make my choices, and I respect you to make yours, but I do not, and will not, accept being judged for mine.
And what is the point of this consumer superiority anyway? Is it to make people feel better about exclusive affiliations with one brand? For limiting their own options? For paying too much for too little? And who are you for making broad-brushed statements about people who do not share your love of Isaac Mizrahi or Macchiatos? What is a macchiato, anyway?
I'm not telling anyone not to shop with any brand. If it makes you happy, by all means, do. What I'm saying is don't bash me, or anyone else really, subtly or otherwise, for not following suit. I wouldn't be me if I didn't make my own choices. And, there's absolutely no way a judgment on a whole person can be boiled down to what type of phone is in his pocket, or what's hanging off her shoulder, or from which cup she's slurping.
What ever happened to community? To respecting and honoring individuality? I feel like I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing has given way to I Perceive Your Choices to be Bad, Therefore You're a Complete and Total Idiot, and that's sad. Catchy, though, isn't it? To the tune of millions, and in most cases, billions of dollars.