The entire American society is based around its sacred ritualized practices, it is only right to consider those ritualized beliefs and practices as constituting a religion. In addition to this, it fits all the definitions used and deemed as valid at different points in Anthropology's history and therefore must be considered as a valid religion.
Consumerism is an institution consisting of culturally patterned interactions. It serves as an extension of the field of people's social relationships. People make connections with others initially based solely on the material possessions and physical appearance they have. These relationships are maintained and appreciated through the continued connection of consumerism. Gifts are given on occasions such as a birthday, Valentines Day, and Christmas. If one is missed or forgotten someone would question the relationship. People also grow to appreciate the same style. Best friends might look more like sisters wearing the same clothes, and listening to the same music. (Asad, Talal 1998)
Consumption is ritualized through gift giving, shopping, and expression of identity. It is practical offering the consumer products to fulfill his or her needs; the experience of belonging, nutrition, shelter, relationships, self-actualization, beauty, and knowledge. It is doctrinal with beauty and consumer magazines serving as the doctrine. It is mythic, the consumer believes that consumption is the salvation of his or her social soul. It is emotional with value and attachment for material goods over all else. It is ethical allowing consumers to make a statement based on their purchases. It has rules and laws, you don't wear white after labor day, you should not buy something full price, you have to pay sales tax, and stealing something is not permissible.
It is social containing connotations and identity through consumption and the ritual of shopping is often ...