One of the things which is a personal enjoyment is the discovery of the obvious, as most “things” in life are not hidden from us. In fact, if one were to open their eyes and just look they might find a lot of “things” staring back at them. However the latest fact which has come to surprise me is the venerable brick and mortar Shopping Mall. Those bastions of the Saturday latte hosted in the busy food court area as the wife flits store to store looking for yet the next hottest fashion in footwear to adorn the closest floor.
However here it is the fact that in the United States we have more Shopping Malls then High Schools which is interesting however not overly surprising. As one would think that “one” mega shopping complex (not a strip Mall) would be plenty for the demographic which would support “one” High School, however it appears not to be the case to feed our out of control consumerism.
In fact in America we have an astounding 16 square feet of Mall space for every person in this country! Just think of the economics which are required to drive the existence of such a number along with our own personal debt as we in the US hold yet another amazing record, 1.3 billion and yes that is billion with a “b” and not million with an “m” credit cards!
For a point of reference, if we look east at China, they have only 5 million credit cards in their wallets across 1.2 billion people! So in effect here in the States we have more credit cards then there are people in China! How many are in your wallet?
So what do we do with all this stuff we buy any way? Yes that’s right we store it away just like squirrels in the wild or the pack rats under a front porch in a dilapidated urban setting. However we the human animal are far more advanced as we seek out a Mini Storage Unit to house our unused treasures. As we in America too have the most of that also, just imagine about 2.35 Billion, yes here we go with the billion thing again square feet of storage. For what again, oh things we are not using however just had to have, because.
Well now you have me thinking, why do we need so many mini-storage units you ask? Simple our houses can’t grow any more to hold all of our “stuff”! As we started out with humble beginnings with an average of only 983 square feet in 1950 with a modest up sizing to 1,140 in the mid 70’s. Then from there we jumped to a whopping 2,434 square feet in 2005 and yet we still seem to be out of room for all the things we buy.
One of the primary drivers for this uncontrolled growth in consumerism is the separation of payment from the purchase. As paying by credit card, one is more likely to pay up to “three times” more for a product then they would if they paid via cash. Folks we have now entered the age of “autistic-capitalism“, so the next time that card comes out, ask yourself do you really need it, or is it something just to add to the mini-storage collection…