Mount Trashmore… A Consumer Driven Society..

2015-09-21_08-16-22One of the things that we first-world countries have basically wrong in my opinion is that we must be a consumer driven society. Everyone buying and consuming more and more each year is the bedrock of our economic system, especially here in the U.S.

Over my seven decades on this earth I have accumulated literally tons of stuff that I really didn’t need or actually, didn’t really want.  I bought it because it was the “in” thing to do. I bought it because the marketeers convinced me that I had to have it.  Yeah, I am human too and fall for the same things I seemingly so loath in others. 🙂

As my income grew from poverty to upper middle class my consumption constantly increased. I can’t tell you how many things I have thrown out in my life, not because they were worn out but because I just lost interest in them or maybe they had just lived out their planned obsolescence or something new just came along. I now  seem to be at one of those milestone places in my life where I want to shake things up.  As a result I am currently shedding “stuff ” in my life.  I have hundreds of books on the shelves behind me.  I am throwing almost all of them out along with all that obsolete technology stashed in the cabinets below them.  I am contributing to the height of my local Mount Trashmore.

But I kind of think it was not as bad in my childhood as it is now.  I know I sound like that old person who laments for the “good old days” but I have to speak my mind. There are just so many what I consider frivolous things today that are considered essential that I would never have dreamed of in my youth.

  • Every child’s teeth have to be perfect. Parents spend thousands of dollars on making sure that their kids have exactly the same teeth as all the others.
  • While we are on the subject of teeth now it seems that everyone’s teeth must be the purest form of white or you will be shunned from society.  So we spend hundreds each year on things to bleach them out.
  • It is not good enough to just have a kitchen with a working stove and large enough sink.  Now we have to update our kitchens on a regular basis. It used to be granite, cherry and stainless steel but now after a half-dozen years or so that is no longer acceptable.
  • In my day if you had a nice green backyard you were considered lucky.  Now you HAVE to have a fire pit, an outdoor dining room, and a large deck costing thousands of dollars.
  • And then there is the clothing fashions, especially for women.  Don’t get me started on 7 inch heels; they are the  most ridiculous thing on this planet!

It seems the marketeers tell us what to do and almost all of us jump to their demands. We must spend more and more in order to keep our country great!  Ironically now, instead of lamenting about what we don’t have, so many of us mourn the fact that our lives are just too complicated. But we still almost religiously go on and on to the next new fad.

 

4 thoughts on “Mount Trashmore… A Consumer Driven Society..

  • Oh, RJ….this often seems to be my “pulpit”! I am so shocked and saddened by our waste and discontent with all the wonderful things we have in our lives. An old man told us when we were young and it has stayed with me….”It is not the high cost of living, but the cost of living high”. So true in my book!
    I see nothing wrong with wearing something out and replacing it. But, so often in our society we see ads that marketers design to convince us the minute we purchase something, it is time to be on to the next bigger and better thing. And only happiness will be ours when we keep up with the Joneses. However, often the Joneses are on the same acquisition treadmill and are extremely unhappy with their possessions also. Vicious cycle to be sure!
    I am very guilty of much of this myself….so I do not wish to sound sanctimonious either. But I am trying to re-evaluate purchases, buy used, repurpose, minimize, donate my unused and unloved possessions where they can used by someone else or resold to benefit a good cause.
    As you can see, I could rant and go on about this for a long, long time. I worry my grandchildren will grow up never knowing how to value what they have but keep wanting and wanting and never really finding contentment and the “lagom”….a Swedish word roughly interpreted as “just the right amount”…..like the Goldilocks effect….instead of them continually searching after the next Big Thing. Thanks for letting me vent!

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  • Hi Linda…Thanks for the comment and you can vent here anytime you want. 🙂
    Yeah I am ashamed of some of my past behavior myself. I like to think of myself as “green” but sometimes I do not live up to that title.
    Lagom — I like that phrase for “just the right amount”. We all need to learn that lesson.

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