Americans are constantly changing their ideas of success. Back in the 1920's, a car symbolized wealth and progress, but now it is considered a necessity for every household. Americans are consumers and surround each other with new displays of wealth. With goods and services always coming up with the newest and fanciest 'it' item, the standard for what everyone should have changes along with it. One example of the constant evolution of products in America is the Apple Corporation. The symbol of a person with an iPod has changed to become almost a necessity for many middle to upper class Americans, and automatically separates the poor from the rich. This symbol of wealth shows an underlying greed in the American consumer that seems unsatisfiable.
When the iPod first came out in 2001, it was seen as revolutionary and many envied those who has an iPod. As it gained popularity, more and more people started to view this device as a must-have instead of a luxurious gadget. By 2005, when I was in sixth grade and attained my first iPod for Christmas, fellow classmates started to compete for who had the coolest, newest iPod. Those without iPods felt left out and slightly inferior to those who had them. The newer generation your iPod was, the more money your family had, because no sixth grader had a solid job. The Apple Corporation had already began to start creating new generations of iPods. With each new generation of an iPod creates a new desire in the consumer to get the lastest and greatest iPod, because in many people's minds, the better the iPod, the better the person.The iPod became an immediate display of wealth with its easily detectable headphones.
By 2008, other portable music devices seemed embarrassing. Many of my peers would not be caught dead with a CD-player, or even worse, a cassette player, in their hands. The iPod started to become the norm. Every other person in the hallway seemed to have those white headphones in their ears. Those with iPods seemingly looked down on those without. When someone sees a person listening to a cassette or CD-player, they automatically assume it is because they cannot afford an iPod.
While some people today view iPods as a necessity, something they could not survive their day without, others in poverty or lower-income households cannot dish out those extra $200 for a new gadget. What is a household item to some is a luxury to others. The different ways people see iPods separate the rich from the poor. In affluent areas such as River Forest, little children have their own iPods. They see iPods not as something to work hard and save up money for, but as something they deserve.
Displays of wealth in America are always changing. What was once an extravagance, is now a necessity. The American consumer never seems to be fully satisfied. While there are exceptions, the American people as a whole seem to be obsessed with wealth. Every step in life seems to be a step towards achieving the success of wealth.