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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Be a Smart Consumer

Following along on the last few "secrets"...

Advertising, and media in general, are still taking baby steps here in China. Government controls have loosened in recent years (at least compared to the "bad old days"), and a whole lot of questionable stuff has rushed into the vacuum.

Think "snake oil salesmen" and you'll get the picture.

As a result, the people have not yet developed much in the way of media savvy or sales resistance. I sometimes laugh at the brash outrageousness of the claims made for quack medical products and get-rich-quick schemes.

But are we really any better?

Despite years of exposure to advertising, and even classes in "consumer awareness" in schools, we still fall for what "The Spiritual Coach" Stan Sanderson calls "The Big Lie." As Stan puts it in his book with the same title, "...happiness is not the byproduct of the acquisition of anything. It therefore follows that no ... amount of material success will bring the joy, happiness, and freedom we seek."

Perhaps you know of the Buddhist precepts; one of them is often stated, "Don't steal," but a better expression is "Don't take what isn't given."

Well, how about this: "Don't buy what isn't needed." Stop looking for happiness in Tracy Chapman's "mountain of things," and resist the Big Lie.

You'll be happier.

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