“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

Anna Lappe

In the context of our communities, our receipts reflect the tradeoffs that we are willing to make between convenience and what we value. “The calculating consumer,” written by staff writers Ishani Raha, Avery Hanna and Digital Managing Editor Jasmine Venet, explores the various political, environmental and ethical influences that shape our habits as shoppers.

The impacts of these consumer decisions put a contemporary twist on the age-old adolescent desire to “fit in.” Staff writers Allison Chang and Naomi Boneh unpack the twofold concept that teenagers as a group consistently invest in the same markets, creating a less unique community through materialistic tendencies and the experience economy in “The price of being average.”

These common experiences stem too from the challenging academic environments teens spend hours in every day. “Sleepless students,” written by News Editor Myra Xu and staff writer Mia Baldonado, discusses Palo Alto’s cross-generational sleep culture, specifically looking into how lack of rest among youth creates a dependence on caffeinated drinks and unhealthy use of technology.

Following an exciting summer full of vacations, camps, and relaxation, consumer opportunities are compared to the idea of entitlement. In “Summer of Privilege,” staff writers Ishani Raha and Antonia Mou write about the issues with both pre-college and voluntourism programs, two activities many Paly students’ parents dedicate thousands of dollars to each year. As students engage in service learning, live on college campuses, and pay for the experience of volunteering in foreign communities, intentions behind these activities are questioned.

As the pages to another year open, Verde’s new logo pays homage to the “V” that has appeared on covers for the past 98 issues. Graphic Designer Zach Donaker reaffirms the commitments we have made to readers through an optical illusion arrow: a symbol that represents our dedication to positive change through the telling of stories that broaden readers’ perspectives of the world.

On the cover

Art Director Samantha Ho depicts an individual being weighed down by a plastic shopping bag overflowing with consumer goods. The bag and its contents reflect the baggage that each transaction carries — from the dependence of local stores to the promotion of popular trends. “Thank you, please come again” conveys the duality of our modern-day consumer culture. On one hand, the survival of each business depends on the decisions that consumers make, yet our choices are hardly our own; we are shaped just as much by the contents of the bags we take home as the stores we shop in are by us.

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The calculating consumer