chapter  15
“Open the mind and close the sale”
Consumerism and the archaeological record
ByAnn Smart Martin
Pages 9

A material culture approach to consumerism is a way of thinking about the relationships of humans and the world of objects, buildings, and landscapes. Consumerism is the study of intellectual and institutional systems grounded in human motivations, needs, and desires. It is particularly an attitude and practice that puts consuming things – usually particular things – as perhaps unexamined, but certainly central, aspects of everyday life. It is a tool to analyze the tangible expressions of human culture. It is a quest to understand motivations and desires for consumer goods and the economic and cultural structures that move commodities and markets. John M. Wilson, vice-president of sales for the National Cash Register Company, a founder in the art of salesmanship, published Open the Mind and Close the Sale: The Key to Success in Selling! in 1953. Wilson reminds us that consumers can be rational thinkers, dreamers, revolutionaries, or ninnies, but they have power.