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Most of us don’t think that anything can come out of the trash. What we regard as trash may be useful in revealing to us information about people (Tollefrsrud, 2011). In the past, archeologists studied the tombs of kings and tools that they were using to learn about people’s culture. Nowadays, archeologists study people’s trash to learn about their habits and behavior. The experience of analyzing trash appeared to be more exciting than I expected. I live in the dormitory and I have recorded everything that I threw out this week. By looking through things that me and my roommates threw away, I was able to analyze myself and those that live around me.
The first item I found in my trash-can that I would like to describe is toilet paper and moist wipes. Using paper for hygienic purposes is convenient and, therefore, it has become a regular household product. People in the late 19th century did not have toilet paper products available in their mega stores like we do. In the earlier years, people used materials available in their surroundings to wipe themselves. Today, however, nearly 5000 companies globally produce toilet paper. This means that toilet paper has become an essentials commodity all around the world (Tollefrsrud, 2011). My room-mates come from various world regions. Each of them has thrown some used moist wipes in the trash can. From the condition of these wipes I concluded that people from different parts of the world use toilet paper differently. Further, companies producing toilet paper and moist wipes make these products affordable as a part of their marketing strategy. These companies desire to access both the rich and the poor segments of market with their products. Since we are all college students, the moist wipes in the trash can were cheap.
In addition, the toilet paper assists us to understand how Americans value hygiene as a part of their culture. One of the moist wipes had soup on it. This shows how people value clean and neat surroundings. We are all women in our room. It is believed that women use more toilet paper than men do (Tollefrsrud, 2011). Women are more emotional, therefore, they tend to use toilet paper and wipes to dry up their tears. In addition, women spend more time and resources to look good. One of the toilet paper pieces had smudged lipstick on it. This depicts how American culture values beauty. Most of the women’s budget is spent on beauty products. They believe that men will like them more with makeup on. Some only do that to look good or to attract attention of people. Whatever the reason might be, striving for beauty is a part of America’s culture.
Further, in the trash, I found an empty pack of cigarettes. This illustrates the culture and habits of American youth. Despite the fact that there are many laws enacted to prevent teenage smoking, there is still an increase in this harmful habit among young people. I don’t smoke, but my roommate is a chain smoker. She can smoke up to two packs a day. She says that she started smoking because of peer pressure. Her parents were always too busy to control and guide her in the right way. This illustrates family culture in many households in America. Presently, many children are suffering from the lack of parental attention and guidance. Consequently, they fall under influence of television or their peer groups. Tobacco companies know this fact and they use advertisements as part of their marketing strategy (Teens Drug Abuse, 2012). These advertisements are appealing and make many young people believe that smoking is great. In addition, the companies manufacture both cheap and expensive cigarettes that can be bought by the poor and the wealthy. This makes cigarettes available for young people. Americans smoke cigarettes for pleasure, to cope with inner frustrations, and for social interactions. Because smoking is banned for young people, it is most appealing for them to try it out. Most young people like the notion that they are either breaking the law or disobeying their parents.
Finally, in the trash can I found an empty McDonald’s food box. This illustrates a culture of fast food eating in America especially amongst the youth. Fast food is cheap and affordable, making it easy for the middleclass and poor people to consume it. As a marketing strategy, McDonald wants to target all people. As a result, they sell their food very cheaply. Furthermore, Mc Donald has good packaging to attract and retain customers. Globally, America is the leader for having the biggest fast food industry (Grace, 2007). For instance, McDonald’s fast food restaurants are located in nearly 126 countries in the world. The fast food is prepared within a short time and can be served very fast. The nature of this food suggests that Americans love fast life. The lifestyle of most Americans revolves around effectiveness and speed. Presently, the latest technology is designed to make things faster and is making people more connected. Hence, fast food is able to assist most people be able to have their meals while working.
As such, these things found in my trash can assist me to understand American people more. Modern archeology has been able to use garbage to learn about the culture of the people. Today, one can discover a lot of things just by looking at the garbage can. Archeologists can find out many things about people starting from how their food was prepared and ending with things they considered valuable by what is in the trash.