“I think the manufacturing and consumption cycle is completely out of hand, and our footprint is doing irreversible damage to the earth.” ~ Venus X, owner of Planet X, from an article in Vogue
So, here we are at the biggest purchasing time of the year and I’m not really in the mood to buy, buy, buy. To tell the truth, I’ve never been a big consumer. The one exception to that rule are books and movies. But they contain knowledge and an understanding of human nature. They are, relatively speaking, inexpensive, thought provoking ways to be educated and entertained. That’s a consumption of a different kind.
I think my attitude about making do with what I’ve got instead of buying the latest, hottest items has to do with the fact that we didn’t have lots of disposable income when I was growing up. When I got money to spend, I had to consider how long I was going to use the item I was considering buying. Would it last? Was I going to use it over and over again? Would I enjoy having it in the years to come? Did it add anything to my existence?
That mindset has carried over to my adult life. For example, my Prius is 16 years old and still runs well. It’s not as pretty as it once was, but it gets me where I want to go, and, big bonus, it’s environmentally friendly. And, believe it or not, I have a few clothes I purchased for our trip around the world 22 years ago, that I still wear.
Oh, there are times when I wish I could go on a shopping spree and buy a whole new wardrobe, new furniture, all the movies and books I want, or any number of other products. But I’m now to the age where reduction of all the stuff we’ve collected over the years and don’t use any more, is a high priority. It’s time to get rid of things I haven’t used in years. I want to let someone else get use out of them, or let them be recycled.
I think my New Year’s resolution will be to take a week or two before the next semester begins and clear out all the stuff I don’t use or want any longer. It just feels like time to free myself up and make room for something new.
Maybe that’s what’s happening on a much larger scale in our country. I was thinking of writing today’s post a few days ago, relating my personal consumer fatigue, when what should I come across this morning but an article titled, “Forget the Mega Sales This Black Friday and Try Investing in ‘Savage Capitalism’ Instead,” by Brooke Bobb in today’s Vogue fashion section posted today in my news app. The above quote is from that article.
I’ve read other articles recently with the same idea. They ask vital questions for us to consider. Is it good to continue producing goods to be consumed, only to break then be thrown away a short time later, inviting a purchase of the newest version of that item? What does that do to our environment and our economy? Do companies need to be making billions of dollars month after month producing disposable items? How does advertising seduce us into thinking we must buy things we don’t need?
Even I realize that this indoctrination into consumerism is a hard habit to break when companies like Amazon exist and offer merchandise at low prices. While on the other hand local artists, and business owners often offer higher quality, hand made merchandise but at higher prices so the artist can pay their bills too. Do I stretch my buying power and take advantage of the great deals, or support a local artisan?
In my heart I side with the local artisan. My husband has sold his pottery, and other artwork. I write books and try to sell them. Sometimes it is hard to resist the siren call of companies like Amazon and instead buy local. But I have to say it’s so satisfying to see a one of a kind piece of artwork hanging on my wall, or to have signed copies of books by my local author friends. I love the painting my husband commissioned for my birthday from an artist friend of ours and the other original artwork displayed in our home. I love it far more than home decor that was mass produced.
My father’s consumer philosophy was this: buy the best even if it is more expensive. In the long run it will last longer and provide more pleasure than something cheap that breaks soon after you bring it into the house. I want to embody his philosophy and add this idea to it: Think before you buy. Don’t purchase things that will not be used. We don’t have to be seduced by advertising that tries to convince us we’ll be more content if we buy the most popular products. Most of us are extremely fortunate and have everything we need to live a full and happy life.
This Holiday season I want to concentrate on the people I love and be grateful for what I already have and maybe help others who are in need so they can have a happy holiday season as well.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it so much. Have a restful weekend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.