A few weeks ago, on the afternoon of the Canadian men's Olympic gold hockey game, Matthew and I were driving home to catch the game. As we were moseying along, Matthew noticed that there were some signs sculpted of snow and ice at the sides of the road. He asked what the words were on the signs, and I told him that they were signs put up by companies wanting to advertise things that they made and that they hoped to sell to people. That led to a fifteen-minute conversation about what it means to advertise, and I did my best to explain...and respond to his zillion questions. At one point, I tried to explain how advertising can also sometimes be misleading, and that we can't always be drawn in by it. I used the example of certain tv commercials, and said that companies will often try to figure out what people like, so that they can try to sell people the things it makes by putting things in their commercials that they know people like. I was thinking about all of those Superbowl beer commercials with all of the beautiful people doing beautiful things in beautiful places, but was struggling with how to explain this concept in simple terms, and without reference to commercials featuring alcohol! Something must have clicked with him, though.
Matthew was silent for a few seconds and then said: "well, that's not fair."
I asked him why.
He responded: "Well, you get nothing that you really need and you end up spending your money on something that you don't need, which means you might not have enough money to buy what you really need. The company gets your money - which means they get everything. That's not fair!"
Hmmm - that was a better explanation than I could ever have provided. Seems to me he just had Lesson #1 in not buying everything you see advertised...no matter how awesome it looks.