Sep 14 2014
In chapters six through nine of her book, Susan Strasser continues detailing the effects of modernization in the American market. Chapters six and seven were the most interesting as they explored new sales and retail methods and relationships. In chapter seven, she hones in on her thesis once again as she explains the movement toward a mass market. The changes in the retail experience included the introduction of department stores, mail order houses, and chain stores. As the economy made this shift, the retail experience went from one based on personal relationships within small communities to one based on economic efficiency. While distracting from the personal, more intimate relationships which may have included benefits such as flexible credit, this economic efficiency benefited both seller and buyer.
In her epilogue, Strasser reminds us that the earliest manufacturers gave us marketing techniques still widely used today. She reiterates her point about how the modern mass market economy separates consumers from the manufacturing and distributing process. She remarks upon Americans’ apparent complicity in the advertising industry’s manipulation of them. And she brings up the issue of industrial waste and our culture’s disregard for long-term effects of the massive manufacturing industries around the globe.
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