By Patricia Lao*
There are some things in life that we have a constant need for. Food, clothes, and education all fall under this category. These things are a part of our everyday lives; we buy clothes on a regular basis, we go out to eat with others almost weekly. They’ve become a fragment of living; the regular beat of a drum. Every once in a while, however, something disrupts that beat. Something comes up that changes our daily routine. Suddenly, there’s something new that everyone is dying to have. Whether it is an interesting piece of clothing or a new and exciting food experience, it’s something that everybody wants. This is the beginning of a trend. And for something that springs so quickly, it can only be assumed that it fades quickly as well.
Once a trend starts, most people hop on the bandwagon. In an instant, a demand for a certain product is created. Everyone rushes to try out this new food item, or buy some article of clothing. This happens almost overnight, and suddenly, it’s all over social media. This just spreads awareness of this trend, and even more people rush to join in. It’s a neverending cycle. What most people fail to realize, however, is how much money they spend on passing fads. They care so much about blending in and going with the flow, that they don’t stop to think. They buy whatever is trending at the moment because they see that almost everyone else has tried it. People feel the need to conform to society, and they do so without analyzing the situation. These trends don’t usually last a long time. There’s so much buzz about them for a few months, but after that, they just disappear as quickly as they started. Suddenly, these fads are dropped; people don’t patronize them anymore. They all move on to the next trend, and abandon their old ones.
These people don’t consider the money they waste on something that only produces short term benefits. They just move on and spend more on the next fad. Where does all this money go? Businesses that pick up on trends, and choose to act on it are the ones who benefit most from these passing fads. If they’re quick enough to cash in on the current trend, they get to feed the demands of the people. Business booms for them, until the trend dies. The trick for these businesses is to always keep up with the trends, as it’s the only way for them to keep making money. As long as they continue coming up with products that cater to people’s wants, they will be able to profit. This won’t be difficult for them, given the fact that people keep trying new things and starting trends. By doing so, they create more opportunities for businesses. Even though they abandon these fads fairly quickly, they still give businesses enough time to make money out of them.
One good example of a short lived trend would be the milk tea craze. When milk tea stores first opened, it seemed like nobody could get enough of it. Everyone was craving for more milk tea. The Manila Times noted that this trend catered to the Filipinos’ love for cold drinks. The business started expanding; more varieties of milk tea stores started popping up. These new competitors just helped satisfy the growing demand for milk tea. While it started with foreign companies opening milk tea stores, local entrepreneurs chose to enter the market as well. Soon, milk tea was everywhere. It was everyone’s go-to drink, and milk tea stores became the usual hangouts. After a few years, people got tired of it. It’s as if they all made an agreement that milk tea was old, and they decided to move on to something fresh, something new. And while the milk tea fad didn’t die out completely, the people’s obsession with it stopped. People stopped looking for the drink, they no longer chose to go there to catch up with friends or to spend their breaks. The demand significantly dropped, and many stores went out of business due to the lack of income. While this trend lasted longer than most, it still died as quickly as it started.
Trends are blaring and widespread, but they become outdated and forgotten soon after. The lifespan of these trends are ridiculously short, yet they are able to influence a generation. Also, despite the short lives of fads, many businesses are able to use these to make money. Numerous entrepreneurs pick up on these trends, and use them to their advantage. It’s fairly easy for them to earn from these ventures since majority of the population is willing to spend on what’s currently trending. So many people feel like they need to take part in fads, and they would rather spend on them than stay out of the loop. While it can be seen as an irresponsible and irrational use of money, this is what keeps the cycle of money going. And as the saying goes, money makes the world go round.
*Patricia Lao is the pseudonym of the writer of the article. She is a self-proclaimed milk tea addict and follows trends like these keenly. Aside from writing, she also does origami in her free time as a means to channel her hyperactive personality.