In The New York Times Magazine: Premium chocolate

Posted by Rob Walker on February 7, 2009
Posted Under: Consumed,Lux,Sustenance

Does an $8 chocolate bar offer something besides taste to the beleaguered consumer?

This week in Consumed, a look at “compensatory consumption,” through the lens of pricey chocolate.

Their thinking is that the little boost of, say, pricey chocolate, might not be solely about mood but about responding to threats to status or competence, Rucker told me. Ideally you would respond to such challenges directly: standing up to a boss who is pushing you around, demonstrating skill to silence skeptics and so on. But often the sources of undermined confidence are more abstract. “What’s happened in modern society under capitalism is that people have found consumer products as an outlet, a safety valve for addressing these threats in a very indirect fashion,” Rucker contends.

Read the column in the February 8, 2009 issue of The New York Times Magazine, or here. [2/9 update: Here’s me talking about the column on “Word of Mouth,” on New Hampshire Public Radio.]

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. The Times’ Consumed RSS feed is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

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