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Flash, Bling, Pop: consumerism in the East

Flash, Bling, Pop: consumerism in the East

When will the US learn that they don’t have to get the ‘latest’? And what is the West teaching the East about the value of a strong economy?


February 26, 2012 4:30 by

More than 100 deputies in riot gear? Panic at the front line? Pushing and shoving in queue? No, these are not illustrations from the latest activist movement against a dictatorial regime. These are the exact words use to describe the mayhem that has ensued among ‘sneakerheads’ across the US who can’t wait to get their hands on Nike’s latest basketball shoe, the Foamposite Galaxy.

Really?! All this for a sneaker?
Yes. Really.

From Maryland to Florida, these outer space-themed $220 shoes have been causing trouble in malls and stores apparently. And it’s enough to make me question whether the US really has gotten rid of (or wants to get rid off) its ugly addiction to consumerism. After all, isn’t overconsumption one of the main reasons so many Americans are in debt right now? Flash. Bling. Pop.

Okay so not all those in queue were buying blue and purple shoes for themselves—some of them are actually selling it online at a considerably marked-up price of a minimum $1000. But this isn’t by any means saving grace for the population. Rather, this only means that the market for scalped items exists rampantly and some ‘sneakerhead’ who couldn’t be bothered to queue will pay that much money to get their hands on these star-freckled footwear.

And this kind of behaviour worries Kipp because as the emerging markets reap the benefits of an increasingly stronger economy, it is not entirely impossibly to see that the East is also starting to use the West’s consumerist model as a way of establishing social status.

Even in the GCC, where the youth tend to have higher disposable income, it is not far from reality to say that there is a mounting pressure among youth to gain access to the latest gadget or blingy trend or drive the latest flashy car.

Is there a way we can stop this momentum?…this seemingly endless cycle of clamouring for most bling and flash?

*image of the riot police is from


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1 Comment

  1. Mandarin on February 29, 2012 12:40 pm

    like the I-pad some enterprising company will bring this must-have sneaker to UAE, sell it at more than double the price and make a killing


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