It seems that everywhere you look you’re bombarded with advertisements and even the random items around your home are filled with logos and branding. Consumerism, the pursuit of maximum convenience for the buyer at all costs, is what dominates 20th and 21st-century capitalism, for better or for worse. This week at Open Narratives, we discussed this prevalent but often overlooked topic.

We started off by simply trying to define what consumerism is, which was surprisingly difficult. We couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was but could point it out if we saw it. The logical conclusion of capitalism…or something. We dove into the concepts of branding and brand loyalty. Favorite brands ranged from Microsoft to Patagonia to Trader Joe’s, and we had varying reasons of why we liked them even if some of us didn’t consider ourselves “loyal” to them. For those that were loyal, it had to do mostly with positive experiences and perceived stability.

Finally, we moved onto advertising. We shared our targetted advertising horror stories- everything from Google suggesting things that you mentioned the other day to your Panera app offering you a coupon as soon as you step within a certain vicinity of a store. It’s very creepy, but also very convenient.