13 Things You Buy For No Other Reason Than Society Told You To

Funny story: lightbulbs actually don’t ever have to burn out. They’re just manufactured that way so that consumers will keep buying them and so lightbulb companies can have a sustainable business.

1. Bucket hats.

I bought three bucket hats the other day for a total of $150 when it occurred to me that they haven’t caught the attention of ONE street style photographer and I now look like my dad. Frankly it was a hasty and reckless decision; everything about my entire life up until this point has indicated that bucket hats should not suit me. So why did I buy them? Because Supreme makes them and Prada made them and Sonia Rykiel did too and basically…society said so.

oystermagazine / instagram See? What'd I tell you.
oystermagazine / instagram
See? What’d I tell you.

2. Emojis.

I oftentimes like to mull over how worth it that $1.99 I spent on the Emoji app was. If I had never bought it, how else was I supposed to express my dancing-lady-in-red-dress elation over a body-roll I just nailed? Or my general boujis-poodle-like swag? Recently, however, I’ve been feeling the pressure to invest in more Emoji apps. Perhaps enticed by kawaii images like this,

I find myself really hankering for an improved selfie — y’know, the kind that’s embellished with disco cats, Rainbow Brite, and confetti.

3. Coconut water.

If Rihanna hadn’t told me how hydrated she felt after a nice gulp of Vita Coco, I would’ve never trained my taste buds into ignoring the unmistakable B.O. flavor and learning to like it. But neither Rihanna nor life — nor marketing tactics, for that matter — are that kind to us. It’s been two years since I jumped on the coconut water bandwagon and I don’t see myself getting off it anytime soon. Recently I’ve taken to joking around about “replacing all the H20 in my body with coconut water.” Except it’s really no joking matter at all — a fact that becomes abundantly clear to me when I take a peek at the unsalvageable crater this habit has left on my credit card bill.

4. Coffee.

Put in a chicken-and-egg context, coffee’s addiction and dependence is not what came first, but rather the urge to try it, which was borne out of society’s promotion of it. It was only then, after trying coffee, that we all grew a taste for it and, subsequently, developed an addiction.

5. Dinner and things for women.

For the sake of being equitable, it must also be said that society’s arbitrary rule that men must pay for women is hardly fair. There isn’t a single, legitimate or rational answer as to why this is, other than society told us so. And it’s something that, if we didn’t abide, might help advance gender equality.

6. Juice Press.

Yes, they sell coconut water here, but their marketing ploys extend far beyond that. They sell minuscule, 9-ounce bottles of blended fruit for upwards $8.00 with the promise of soft and silky skin like the kind you might find on a slimy fetus. But I think the real deciding factor in my quest to become a Juice-Press-drinking homeless woman was finding out that Beyonce drinks a Volcano a day.

It makes no difference that I could hypothetically whip up a homemade volcano myself (for god’s sake it’s nothing more than filtered water, ginger, lime, cayenne extract, and oil of oregano). But that’s a moot point, I tell you, a moot point! It’s the bottled kind I need, the one with the disgustingly cute description on it. Because it’s this kind, and only this kind, that has the power to turn any average juice into liquid Beyonce gold.

7. Items on eBay.

Must we really bid on a Dior silk negligee? And the sad truth is yes, we must, because while we were never really in need of one before, eBay just reminded us that these do indeed exist and are conspicuously missing from our closets.

8. Manicures.

But in particular nail art, which is currently seeing its heyday and taking full control of women’s checkbooks everywhere. Books; countless books and museum memberships. THAT’s what we could be spending our hard-earned money on. But unfortunately society dictates that smiley faces and cheeseburgers and strawberries need to adorn each and every one of our nails and who are we to argue with that?

9. Sale items.

I’m Jewish and so it’s sort of ingrained in my blood to get a hard-on every time I’m notified of a sample sale. It’s funny, really, the transformative effect that the mere addition of the word “sale” to an item of clothing can have on someone. After buying something on sale, we feel a new and deserved respect; an undue level of accomplishment. The absurdities and (fashion) crimes I’ve committed in the name of “sales” still haunt me to this day. One time I actually waited on line for two hours at an Acne sample sale. Why? Oh, I don’t know, because of the vague yet seductive promise of nice clothes at a discounted price? I ended up walking out of the sample sale with a pair of silver, low-rise, 3-sizes-too-big, leather pants with a thick waistband that I paid $300 for. Perhaps inside, blinded by the irresistible aura of the sample sale, I convinced myself that this was a good idea. Which made it all the more disappointing when I entered into the light of day and saw the mistake that I had made. The next day I ran to a consignment store to try and re-sell the pants, but no one would take them. Proof:

And so they remain in my closet as an ugly reminder of the blinding power of the word “sale.”

10. Lottery tickets.

Have you ever taken a look at your chances of winning the lottery? It’s an interesting number; 1 in 175,223,510, to be exact. And yet millions of people every day insist on buying a lottery ticket — sometimes out of habit and sometimes out of superstition. The media hones in on those 1 in 175,223,510 lucky winners, fooling us into believing that our chances of winning are real and great. Imagine if, instead, the media covered only the world’s lottery losers? I think we’d see less people running for the Powerball then, don’t you?

11. Soy milk.

Hey, here’s something that might interest soy milk drinkers: turns out, soy milk is not that good for you! Which just makes me feel very “yayyy” inside because I’ve been drinking soy milk for years now. Like coconut water, I wasn’t initially taken by the grainy, powdered-milk taste. But the word “soy” in a soft cursive, plus the promise of a healthier calcium intake, was enough to convince me of its benefits. Eight soy mistos later, and I was hooked. And that was 10th grade of high school.

12. Cigarettes.

It seems reasonable to assume that, had we not invented cigarettes, there would be no demand for them. Even so, I’m still flummoxed every time I see someone buy a pack. I’m not exactly sure how much kids these days are paying for cigarettes but I’m fairly certain it could cover a month’s worth of train rides. Dear smokers, I ask you this: are you aware there’s a cheaper option? That you can buy loose tobacco and roll your own cigarettes for a fraction of the price? If you must smoke, then — good God — learn how to roll a cigarette.

13. Bottled water.

One time I actually went to the Evian spring and filled up a bottle of Evian water. I could go on and describe in detail my tour of Lake Geneva, but that is not my point. My point is this: all water — even bottled water — comes from natural resources. I imagine the meeting in which government officials decided they would go through with the biggest ruse in history to have been an epic one. One in which they laughed together, sinisterly, as they decided to commodify the one thing we can all get for free. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – evianwater


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