Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Case of the Gimme-Gimmes

I am very sorry to say that I am raising a little consumer. He is very much the product of a pro-capitalist, instant gratification society and he's only two. I swear, I didn't consciously do this to him. If I had my druthers, he'd never desire anything beyond his next meal or a nap but that's just really not possible unless he was being raised on a commune or in a cave. Advertising and the buy, buy, buy mentality is everywhere. He doesn't even watch tv but for a half hour a few days per week, and yet he's still exposed to marketing in stores, catalogs in the mail, and even inserts placed inside the toys we purchase. With that much advertising coming at him, it's a wonder he's waited this long to get his first case of the gimme-gimmes.

His current obsession: laying on his belly, propped on his elbows, one hand securing his thumb into his mouth, the other flipping through the 2010 Lakeshore catalog. If he's not browsing the Lakeshore catalog then he's carrying around the insert from the last Thomas train purchase. He's practically memorized all their names though we only own too many a few and we never catch it on tv.

Once he's had a quick look-through, then come the requests. "Mommy, this. This, mommy. Love it all the time."

'Love it all the time'- a regular refrain taken from a little bit of Mommy's shopping lingo "Love it," combined with the answer to the question I often asked him when he first started browsing, "Will you play with it all the time?"

Without even knowing it, I have created a monster. Exactly the kind of monster that got us into our current economic crisis. Lucky for me, we have a few years to develop his fiscal understanding and hopefully coax him towards a more generous and less selfish financial outlook.


So tell me, have you had to deal with any severe cases of the gimme-gimmes? If so, how'd you handle it? Any tips for guiding my little guy towards a less self-indulgent personality?


Kelly Jernigan said...

Abby, this totally cracks me up & makes me feel like I'm not alone! My mom & I tend to team up a lot to go shopping with Wyatt & we tend to get a case of "that's cute" when referring to everything. I'll never forget the first time Wyatt picked something up while shopping with us & said "that's cute" - I couldn't believe it!!

Now, when he & I are out running errands he will say to me in a store "I think I'll get this, yes - I think I need this." We talk it through & of course don't end up bringing home everything we touch in the store, but it is a funny & eye opening time in toddlerhood!

Coco said...

Just tonight we were "reading" the fisher price catalog that came in the mail today. and I just ordered the Lakeshore catalog for both my mom and myself. Can't wait! Cadence has the gimmes at the grocery store a lot. Something that sticks out if the $6.99!! pint of Strawberries at Whole Foods the other day. Had to do the behind the back move back onto the shelf.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I am laughing because we struggle here too--only it's the darn Scholastic Book catalogs that come home from SCHOOL (selling more than only books). Like you, I limit TV, I recycle all catalogs & sales flyers (I HIDE the one for Toys R Us every Sunday) and I almost never bring my boys to stores other than the grocery store. And even still they want want want. It's SO hard to protect them from this mentality.

corrie said...

Lily will pick up things at the store and say, "Mommy, I want to buy this." So I say, "Well, did you bring any money?" which of course she did not -- it is always safe at home in her piggy bank. But I think it's good to teach her early that things cost something -- I'm not jusy denying her for no reason. When she says no, I say, "Why don't you think about asking for that for your birthday?" (now that Christmas is past). That kind of heps quell the instant gratification aspect. She is usually fine with that, and of course the item is out of sight out of mind minutes later. If there are any toys that she cosistently indicates an interest in, then I make a mental note for her Christmas/birthday/reward list. So far, this has avoided big fits -- at least over the "gimmes!"

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

Too cute!! It is so hard to instill any appreciation for things like this. I remember when my teen was growing up, I'd try to have deep talks with her about how other people don't have much, and to appreciate what she had and be content. In one ear......