Influences on our shopping habits (séries techno LV1)

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Unit 1 - | Corpus Sujets - 1 Sujet Influences on our shopping habits  

Séries technologiques • LV1


Formes de pouvoir




Pondichéry • Avril 2014

Séries technologiques • LV1

Text 1

Pupils under pressure to buy brands

Children who cannot afford to buy the latest brands and fashions face bullying and ridicule by their peers1, teachers warned yesterday.

Research from the teaching union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, says children are under heavy pressure to buy certain brands and products to fit in with their peer group.

Almost half of the teachers questioned in the research said young people who cannot afford the fashionable items owned by their friends have been isolated or bullied as a result. The research also warned of a “significant” rise in the influence of advertising and marketing on children.

Dr Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary said : “Children feel under immense pressure to look right and having the key brands is part of that”. […]

“Advertising and marketing have made our society increasingly image-conscious and our children are suffering the consequences. Schools and colleges should be places where all children feel equal, but it is virtually impossible for schools to protect their pupils from the harsher aspects of these commercial influences,” Dr Bousted said.

The poll found more than eight in 10 teachers (85% of those questioned) believe possession of fashionable goods is important to their pupils, with 93% saying brands are the top influence on what children buy, followed by friends and logos.

Almost all of the teachers questioned said they believe advertising directly targets children and young people.

Andy Cranham, a teacher at City of Bristol College said: “The need to belong in groups is paramount2 to young learners and exclusion is something they see as the end of the world”.

Natasha Gilbert,, Monday 11 August 2008.

1. their peers = the other pupils at school.

2. paramount = very important.

Text 2

The biology of shopping

Dopamine is one of the most addictive substances known to man – and purchasing decisions are driven in some part by its seductive effects.

When you see that shiny digital camera, or those flashy diamond earrings, for example, dopamine subtly flushes1 your brain with pleasure, then wham2 you know it, you’ve signed the credit card receipt (researchers generally agree that it takes as little as 2.5 seconds to make a purchasing3 decision).

A few minutes later, as you exit the store, bag in hand, the euphoric feelings caused by the dopamine recede4, and all of a sudden you wonder whether you’ll really ever use that damn camera or wear those earrings. Sound familiar

Surely we’ve all heard the term “retail5 therapy”. And as we all know, whether our vice is shoes, CDs, or electronics, shopping can be addictive. If nothing else, shopping […] has become an enormous part of what we do in our spare time. But does it actually make us happier 

All scientific indicators point to yes – at least in the very short term. And that dose of happiness can be attributed to dopamine, the brain’s flush of reward, pleasure and well-being. When we first decide to buy something, the brain cells that release dopamine secrete a burst of good feeling, and this dopamine rush fuels our instinct to keep shopping even when our rational minds tell us we’ve had enough.

As Professor David Laibson, an economist at Harvard ­University, puts it, “Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, even though our logical brain knows we should save6 for retirement”.

Martin Lindstrom, BUY.OLOGY, 2008.

1. flushes your brain with pleasure = brings pleasure to your brain.

2. wham = bang.

3. to purchase = to buy.

4. to recede = to diminish.

5. retail = shopping.

6. to save = to save money.


Text 1

1 Choose the right answer.

1. What sort of pupils are ridiculed

a) intellectualsb) fashion victims

c) pupils who don’t have the money to buy brands

2. Who identified this phenomen as a problem

a) teachersb) a group of pupilsc) Natasha Gilbert

2 True or false Justify your answers by quoting from the text.

1. Schools can protect all pupils from marketing.

2. Most schoolchildren want to be like everybody else.

31. According to the journalist, what factors incite pupils to buy certain products (give 2 different elements).

2. What are the consequences for the pupils who don’t conform

Text 2

1 Choose the right answer.


1. makes us want to buy more.

2. makes us want to buy less.

3. makes us depressed.

2 True or false Justify yours answers by quoting from the text.

1. It takes shoppers a long time to make up their minds.

2. Shoppers soon regret their purchasing decisions.

3. Some shoppers can’t help buying.

4. Buying has become a hobby for many people.

5. The pleasure derived from buying is long-lasting

6. Buying causes a conflict between our heart and our head.

3 Who or what do the following words refer to

1. (line 2) its

2. (line 6) you

3. (line 16) it

4. (line 20) we

Both texts

1 What subject do the two texts have in common Choose the right answer.

1. victimisation

2. drug addiction

3. factors influencing purchases

4. clothes

2 Which sentence best describes the differences between the two texts

1. One is about social influences, the other is about biological factors.

2. One is about school, the other is about drug addiction.

3. One is about the role of teachers, the other is about shopping therapy.


> Choose ONE of the two following subjects. (about 200 words)

1 Imagine a conversation between two pupils. One wants to convince the other that he/she gives too much importance to other people’s opinions. Write the conversation.

2 What influences our shopping choices

Texte 1


The Guardian est un quotidien britannique fondé en 1821. Il compte environ 9 000 000 lecteurs par mois (sur papier et en ligne), ce qui en fait un des journaux de qualité les plus lus du monde.

Résumé du texte

Une étude récente montre comment les enfants de familles modestes subissent une pression qui les conduit à acheter les produits de marque sous peine d’être ridiculisés et stigmatisés par leurs pairs.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

A brand, l. 1 (une marque)  to afford, l. 1 (se permettre financièrement, avoir les moyens d’acheter)  bullying, l. 2 (brimades)  a union, l. 3 (un syndicat)  a lecturer, l. 4 (un professeur d’université)  to fit in, l. 5 (s’intégrer)  harsh, l. 18 (dur)  a poll, l. 19 (un sondage)  to target, l. 24 (cibler).

Texte 2


Martin Lindstrom est un écrivain et journaliste danois. Il est l’auteur de plusieurs écrits traitant de marques commerciales et du comportement des consommateurs. Il écrit régulièrement pour Time Magazine.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Lindstrom nous présente les effets biologiques du shopping sur notre corps. Il explique comment le fait d’acheter fait secréter par notre corps la dopamine qui nous procure une sensation de plaisir proche de l’addiction.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Shiny, l. 4 (brillant)  flashy, l. 4 (tape-à-l’oeil)  a burst, l. 22 (un éclat)  a cell, l. 21 (une cellule)  a rush, l. 22 (une montée)  to fuel, l. 22 (alimenter).

Les points de convergence

Les deux articles traitent des influences sur notre consommation.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Pistes de recherche

Le sujet consiste en une conversation entre deux élèves. Vous pouvez utiliser un langage familier sans vulgarité. Pensez à un ou plusieurs aspects de la vie d’un ado qui fera qu’il est influencé par ses pairs : la mode, les comportements à risque, la nourriture, la musique. Il faut que la conversation soit logique avec une cohérence entre les répliques.

Vocabulaire utile

To bump into someone (croiser qqn)  to suit someone (aller à qqn)  to be in (être à la mode)  to gush (s’extasier)  a tomboy (un garçon manqué)   to be a sheep (suivre les autres). 

Le sujet d’expression 2

Pistes de recherche

Reprenez quelques idées des deux textes mais sans paraphraser ou recopier. Pensez aux aspects sociaux (du premier texte). Rajoutez quelques idées supplémentaires : les goûts de chacun, l’influence des médias (particulièrement des publicités).

Vocabulaire utile

Purchases (des achats)  to deliver (livrer)  billboards (panneaux d’affichage)  advertising (la publicité)  adverts (les publicités)  target (cibler)  to stray from the norm (s’écarter de la norme)



Text 1

11.c) Pupils who don’t have the money to buy brands are ridiculed.

2.a) Teachers identified this.

21. False. (l. 17-18) “it is virtually impossible for schools to protect their pupils from the harsher aspects of these commercial influences”.

2. True. (l. 25-26) “the need to belong in groups is paramount”.

31. The first factor that incites pupils to buy certain products is what their friends own or wear. The second is advertising and marketing.

2. Pupils who don’t conform are isolated and bullied.

Text 2

11. Dopamine makes us want to buy more.

21. False. It takes them “as little as 2.5 seconds” (l. 7-8)

2. True. “As you exit the store... the euphoric feelings caused by the dopamine recede.” (l. 9-10)

3. True. “shopping can be addictive” (l. 14-15)

4. True. “shopping ... has become an enormous part of what we do in our spare time.” (l. 15-16)

5. False. “in the very short term“ (l. 18-19)

6. True. “Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, even though our logical brain knows we should save for retirement” (l. 26-28)

31. “Its” : Dopamine.

2. “you” : the average person, shoppers.

3. “it” : shopping.

4. “we” : the average person, shoppers.

Both texts

13. The two texts are about the factors influencing purchases.

21. One is about social influences, the other is about biological factors.


1 Guidelines

Sasha and Cathy have bumped into each other at a shopping centre.

“Hi Sasha, are you shopping for the party too Show me what you’ve bought.”

Sasha opened a bag and took out a blue dress.

“Isn’t it gorgeous The shop assistant told me the colour suited me and I read inCosmo that this style is so in. My friend Jenny has a pink one just like it!” Sasha gushed.

“I thought you preferred trousers ”

“Matt says trousers are for tomboys and in Marie Claire, it says the best way to get a boyfriend is to look feminine!”

“Matt, Jenny, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire! Just listen to yourself! Don’t you have your own opinion ” Cathy shook her head in disbelief. “It’s what you think that counts. You should wear what you feel comfortable in, not what it says in a stupid magazine!”

“That’s easy for you to say, you’re slim, beautiful and everyone loves you. I need to make a good impression.” Sasha sighed.

“You worry too much about what other people think. You don’t need to be a sheep to make friends. People should appreciate you for what you are, not for what you wear!” Cathy exclaimed.

“I guess so. I hate this dress actually, I saw some trousers the same colour... maybe I should go back and swap them.”

“That’s a great idea!” Cathy replied happily “Can I come with you ”

“Sure! Let’s go!”

2 Guidelines

Shopping is part of our everyday lives. Thanks to the Internet we don’t even have to leave our home to make purchases. But the question is: what makes us choose what we buy

In a first part let us consider the access to products before explaining the influence of advertising and finally looking at how others influence what we buy.

First of all, as I said, access to products is much easier today. With the evolution of the Internet there are no constraints regarding time or location. We can order online at any time products from all over the world to be delivered to our homes. Furthermore, we can shop around to find the cheapest price more easily.

Yet, by going online, we are a captive audience. Based on what we buy online we often see adverts that target our previous choices. This form of advertising is much more powerful than billboards or TV advertising, we see things that are related to us personally.

Personal choice is of course a part of the equation but the desire to fit in is extremely important especially for teenagers. Everyone likes to feel part of a group and this includes wearing similar clothes, listening to the same groups, having the same interests.

We can conclude that we are influenced by technological advances but also by everything around us. In fact it is difficult to make our own choices and to stray from the norm without inciting exclusion and persecution. Does this mean that we no longer have the possibility to be individuals I hope not!