Treat Yo Self

Millie Goebel


Meet Tom and Donna, two animated characters from the popular sitcom Parks and Recreation. While this show is purely fictional, Tom and Donna exemplify the American consumer. Once a year this dynamic duo dedicates a day purely to “treating themselves”. This day consists of spa treatments, massages, and outlandish spending on clothing. “Treat Yo Self” day is a day to reward themselves for all of their hard work and what better way to reward yourself than with some retail therapy and spending money.

Many Americans also participate in their “Treat Yo Self” day, but for many, this exciting day is more frequent. Some of us treat ourselves every day, week, once a month, maybe five times a year. For many Americans we seek a reward for our hard work. We like rewarding ourselves with stuff, just like Tom and Donna. Humans will continue to make great achievements and seek a reward. However, will our habits of treating ourselves ever change? What does “Treat Yo Self” day look like in other countries? What is the true cost of “Treat Yo Self” day?


  1. urbanferal

    I love how in this clip it shows them buying ridiculous stuff that they admittedly have no real use for. This is so true of human behavior, often retail therapy results in purchases that have no real purpose and offer only short term fulfillment. Quite often people suffer from “buyer’s remorse” and thus are left with less happiness after the rush of buying things is over and they feel the crunch on their wallet. I think having more time to go outside and breath fresh air or to see the people you love would be much more effective. Unfortunately because we spend so much time working to be able to buy things, this “free time” is elusive for so many people and shopping for a few hours seems to be the quickest fix.

  2. stuartcuw

    This is not going to be a comment full of substance.. but I feel like I have to share:

    I literally just watched this episode and absolutely exploded laughing when I saw this at the top of the Rethinking Prosperity blog. But you are spot on with your analysis, good job!

  3. katielowell

    As we can see here, the media engrains this idea of individual overconsumption. And as we know, the media is the main channel through which we adopt and implement our own ideologies. This television clip reminds me of a clip from Conan O’Brian, which is justifying buying for ourself during the christmas season. What’s creepier is that this repeated line appears in local news channels from around the country, which makes me wonder who is writing the newscaster’s scripts. Is this an example of the increased ownership of television channels or a weird coincidence?

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