04 December, 2011

Why... Generation Y

"I represent Generation Y...
My name is "Christine C." I am a young consumer, I can tell you this: my attention is short and my demands are great. As Millennials as we are often called, we may seem fickle, limited and spoiled to most retail professionals as our lifestyle and shopping habits affect everyone from big-box retailers to mom-and-pop stores, and will for the next two decades at minimum. We will be responsible for the return of our nation's thriving economy."

Here is where my opinion takes over...

(or will they be responsible for... China's thriving economy...) To put it bluntly, if you're a Retailer, big or small, uncomfortable with marketing to Generation Y that means your probably mainly opposed and uncomfortable with selling mass quantity's of the cheapest "Made in China" merchandise, which this "unique demographic" as they like to refer to themselves, will most likely buy in obscene quantity. This groups battle cry is "Quantity over Quality".

I find this ironic since their generation, even more then their predecessors, has been bombarded with "Reuse & Recycle", " Climate Change", "Sustainability" and "Unemployment". Yet most, not all... of these young people seem to have no concerns for Sustainable Fashion: How or where a garments made, such as fabric content or ethical global trade practices, they'll purchase a trendy garment regardless of non-identifiable fabric content or it's compatibility with water, let alone a washer... probably made by a person who's been paid 1.00 a day, why else do you think your only paying 5.99 to 29.99. My question to this group is, do you really need 200 poorly made clothing items in your wardrobe? How many times can you wear it and wash it before it's falling apart? Answer is.... Who cares, throw it away or donate it to a thrift store... Y's standard method of operation, obviously parent approved as they're probably still paying for it on the credit card long after the demise of the garment.

My experience recently (yesterday, and every time our little town host special events geared towards increasing mass foot traffic in our historic retail district) and routinely includes masses of teens and twenty-somethings rudely rummaging threw my upscale merchandise, while loudly proclaiming so I can hear their dismay... (as they maul, damage and ridicule) an item that catches there (A.D.D.) attention span, " w.t.f.... are you kidding me... that price is ridiculous ... what-ever..." then they often become increasing hostile in their browsing-demeanor, until they thankfully leave my store.

This generation is what I prefer to call the "Disposable Generation", and it's really a heartbreaking scenario that this increasingly large number of consumers has no connection to the era of quality over quantity, handmade and lovingly cared for pieces to be handed down to future generations. The special things that I and my daughter lovingly refer to as vintage treasures from either our Grandmothers closet or our own that are to be cared for for the next in line, in our family to adore...

I say loudly!!! Shame on the countless Baby Boomers and GenXer's who've neglected to cultivate their offspring on far more then manners, common courtesy and simple appreciation for the finer things in life, even if it's not within their financial means.... in summation...

Education is the key to the future of our country's financial strength or weakness, and that education needs to begin at home! Regardless of fashion or other various consumer needs... we must teach our children values and the value of the dollar about earning it and how to spend it wisely in a sustainable way. I realize that many families are in tough financial situations today, and I'm not complaining that they should buy my merchandise. I'm suggesting that they should teach their children to appreciate peoples property, or to just leave a store if they do not care for the style of merchandise, not be obnoxious, destructive or to voice opinion and confirm ignorance by sharing their thoughts out loud. Too many parents are failing their children, our society and our country's economic future, and I don't even think they realize it started by watching how Mom & Dad react to the most basic situations in life... and their commentary.

Regardless of if you understand Generation Y, you should observe them in mass at any local shopping venue, and you will most often be as appalled as I am. I am a specialty retailer in a region that has either largely forgotten to instill minimal courtesy values in there youngsters or perhaps consists of a fairly large population in and of itself that hasn't been unexposed to anything other than Wal-Mart.

Either way it's really sad... Again this is just my opinion.

1 comment:

Nice comments only, please. That means you, "Anonymous"! :)