Sounds like a good movie title, but instead it's from an article
on how people seem to swing between extremes, either overindulgence or contrition. We all go through this cycle of treating ourselves and then feeling guilty afterwards, resulting in some type of penance. The classic example is eating a whole container of ice cream and then going to the gym, or jogging a few miles, to "work it off".
Perhaps nowhere is this mild form of consumer split personality more pronounced than among the nation's 79 million baby boomers. "This was a generation raised on indulgence," says Steven Berglas, a clinical psychologist and executive coach in Los Angeles. "Boomers won't even hear of being deprived until after they've overindulged."
Then, they want it. Even need it.
"We're not a society that drives down the middle of the road," says Denny Marie Post, chief concept officer at Burger King. "We swerve between the two extremes." Trends forecaster and pop culture guru Faith Popcorn has her own term for this: dueling extremes. It is, she says, a need to "balance binge moments with restorative acts."
Faith Popcorn?! Hello, I'm Peace Pretzel, pleased to meet you! Many bloggers would like the title of "Trend Forecaster and Pop Culture Guru", as if we actually have a pulse on what's happenin'
. I have a hunch she makes money by marketing herself rather than the "gravity" of what she actually says. Here's more on food:
More often than not, dueling extremes involve food. Few know that better than Whole Foods Market. "We've evolved from being the natural and organic store to the one for the foodies," says Walter Robb, co-president and COO of Whole Foods Market. But even if an item is over-the-top decadent, it's going to at least be made from natural ingredients, he says.
Such as the cotton candy — yes, "natural" cotton candy — sold in its new store in Woburn, Mass. Bear in mind, it has no artificial food coloring. And the sugar it's spun from is, of course, organic. Robb says it's not entirely uncommon for the same shopper who visits the Austin store's Candy Island — where a fountain of rich chocolate flows for the enrobing of fresh fruits — to later that day atone at the organic salad bar or raw juice bar.
"I don't think consumers see it as a contradiction," he says. "They just feel cleaner and squeakier after visiting the salad bar or juice bar." Many consumers mentally view life as a balance sheet of debits and credits, he says.
Debit for a decadent doughnut — made with all natural ingredients — from Whole Foods' in-store bakery.
Credit for a fruit salad — perhaps with kiwi, kumquat and mango — from the fresh fruit bar.
I'm getting numb to the marketing ploy of reduced this or that: 1/2 the fat slow-churned ice cream, sugar-free cookies, reduced cholestorol eggs. While there is no specific Bible verse for it, you can't go wrong with "everything in moderation" (Ben Franklin?) - well, most everything. The media, though, appeals to your desire for the extremes. The "I'll pay for it later" attitude can be quite harmful when the bill comes due.
The "binge and restoration" cycle is one that I need to avoid, and getting on the path of righteousness is as good a start as any. It's easy to justify many things, particularly when it's something selfish and it won't "hurt" anybody else.
And speaking of movie titles (segue from the first line of this post ... clever, eh?), it looks like Sony has a big flop on its hands concerning The DaVinci Code movie set to open this Friday. It was given the first viewing (for movie critics) at the Cannes festival and was roundly panned. For a good summary of the negative criticisms, see Jeffrey Overstreet's post
. For all of this gnashing of teeth over the movie, it may turn out that it bombs due to being boring. Hee hee.