The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Umbrellas are the corporate tool of oppression


A satirical look at consumerism

Let me set the stage for you. My alarm goes off and I awake to an unusual sound from the usual silence in my house—the sound of rain pounding on my windows. As I start to prepare for the day, I am already dreading the walk to campus. Why? Because I know that I must again submit to the corporate tool of oppression better known as “the umbrella.”

Yes, you read that right. The umbrella is a cruel trick by our capitalist overlords that pulls us into a vicious cycle of repeated purchases, wasted investments, broken promises and lost hope.

Consider this: everyone owns an umbrella. It is a necessity of life, a seemingly elegant, yet simple way to avoid getting wet in the rain. It is a helpful tool that one always has readily at hand should the weather turn dreary. Or, at least, it should be.

We’ve all been there. It starts to rain. You pull out your trusty umbrella. You open it up but find that it is broken. The perfect octagon that it should be is caved in on one side. Broken again; third one this year. Riddle me this: how is the collapsible umbrella, a device that dates back to ancient China, such a fragile piece of garbage? How have we not perfected this technology by now? I know why.

The umbrella industry has blinded us to the truth. They convince us that our umbrellas are useful and beneficial and we buy right into it. We purchase umbrellas and they break. We buy new ones, and they break too. The cycle continues on and on endlessly in a maddening spiral of blind consumerism. The umbrella companies laugh the whole time, stuffing their pockets with the  hard earned cash that we could be spending on the finer things in life, things like tuition or strawberry acai refreshers from Starbucks.

I’ve walked through the Erivan K. Haub School of Business several times, so I know how these things work. Some poor working stiff in Research and Development at Umbrella Corporation, Ltd. did the legwork and found a better umbrella. An umbrella impervious to breakage. An umbrella that would be a lifelong companion rather than some staple of throwaway culture. That genius found the perfect umbrella. He should be lauded, given a Nobel prize!

But then corporate came along and swept it under the rug. They knew what they were doing. As long as we continue to need umbrellas, they know that they can produce their cheap products and that we will keep funneling cash into their company. They know that we are trapped in the system that they have created.

We can break this cycle. Invest in a rain jacket. Call your senator and demand better funding for umbrella research in this country. Vote for candidates who believe in a better umbrella. Wake up, sheeple. We can do better, and we will do better, one umbrella at a time.

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