When I was a very young lad, my family lived in a fairly large city. That city, in those days, still had milk delivery (yes I am that old). Every morning the milkman delivered glass bottles of milk and took the empties away, talk about being environmentally sound! I was very young and barely remember the uniformed man whistling as he strode up our sidewalk with his crate of tinkling glass bottles, what service! I am sure those heavy, cold, glass bottles made the milk taste better. The bottles had a square profile ending in a round mouth that was plugged with a waxed cardboard disk. The heavy bottle was filled all the way to the round neck with icy cold, rich, milk; yum. Also hidden within those full bottles was a treasure that my brother and I strove to receive, the bottle was filled with many refreshing glasses of milk, but there was only one gluck-gluck
Yes, when the bottle was filled to the top and was tipped to pour, it made that sound (glook-ka-glook), we called it the gluck-gluck (only one per bottle!). The story is (I was too young to remember the first time), it was my dad who made that sound a coveted commodity. He was pouring himself a glass of milk out of a freshly opened bottle, and upon hearing the sound pronounced; “I got the gluck-gluck”. Well, that was it! From then on the competition to receive the desired gluck-gluck was on. I can remember the arguments, between my brother and I, as to who received the blessing of the gluck-gluck when a new bottle was opened. Mom and Dad had to keep track of whose turn it was, and I remember when dad poured the loser his glass, he would try and console us by saying “gluck-gluck” when he poured; but it was a poor consolation prize.
The gluck-gluck had become a commodity, it is an interesting concept to study. The gluck-gluck was not really a necessity, it was a want. The want was created by my father recognizing it’s scarcity and announcing its desirability. From there, the competition between my brother and I took care of the rest. I’m sure, if my brother and I would of had a disposable income, dad could have made money selling us a sound. Maybe dad should have made us do chores to earn the right to the gluck-gluck, we were certainly motivated.
When I view the materialistically minded world of consumerism that we currently reside in, I am astonished by the amount of money being spent on gluck-gluck. Clothes with the “right” label, “popular” food brands (eaten not for taste or nutrition; but because it’s cool), expensive branded electronics, and many others. It is not a problem if only a few things are coveted for their popularity, but spending money to “be cool” becomes a way of life. People can be separated from large amounts of cash because they spend their entire life looking for the next trend to jump on. They don’t buy things based on value, or price, but instead are sold an idea. The idea of trendiness, the fantasy of popularity, the myth of cool; all at premium prices.
I think people are influenced by popular culture more than they would ever admit. Television, movies, magazines, etc all combine (they are all owned by six mega-corporations) to leave the common person with the idea that there is a “popular culture” out there, formed by the everyday people. It’s not! A large percentage of popular culture is created in the board rooms of mega media corporations. This is the same media that is also telling you what music to buy, what to eat, what to wear, what to drink, how to think and where you should look for entertainment. Think about it; a single company can make a movie, then talk about it on their own radio and television stations, write about the movie in several magazines and multiple newspapers (all owned by them), and even put out a huge presence on the internet! It is possible for a media giant to make a movie appear popular, even if it sucks. Nobody wants to be odd, we all like to fit into our crowd. When the media giants can control the crowd by telling them what it “wants” and changing the menu often, it becomes a trillion dollar industry.
Have you ever stopped to consider how silly designer labeled goods are? I mean you need jeans to cover your butt, does the label really do anything? No, the jeans still do their job, with or without a label. It is interesting to shop in a second hand clothing store, all those faded labels, they mean nothing now, one just looks to make sure the jeans fit and the material is sound. In those same stores one can find many other used products that were once the rage, now reduced to clear. Just the other day in one of those stores I saw a box full of cabbage patch dolls, I remembered the Christmas that those dolls were all the rage. People were paying four times the going price for those dolls, if they could even find one. The money spent on popularity and fad is forever gone, with nothing to show for it.
The world is changing, disposable incomes are dropping, resources are becoming scarcer; it’s time for everyone to take a hard look at what they spend money on. Need will have to replace want in the decision making process. It’s very hard to use the word “need” as in saying, “I need that designer shirt”. If every person looked only for quality when buying consumer products, companies would have to change, and start producing only quality items. Stop looking for that ultimate something that will make you cool, it doesn’t exist; that’s all just media gluck-gluck.