Saturday, January 5, 2013

Next Christmas

Source:  USA Today
Now that the dust has settled from the holiday shopping frenzy - stretching from "Black Friday" until the day-after-Christmas sales, it's time to get out your calendars and make some notes for shopping in 2013, especially around Christmas time.  Think about the gifts you gave and the reactions of the recipients.  Did they really seem happy to receive that gift - or did they put on a show of loving that new whatchamacallit?  Better yet, think about gifts YOU received.  Did you really love/need/want them all?  Or did you immediately begin thinking about how you could regift it or how soon you had to hold onto it until you could unload it at a local thrift store?  

Studies have shown that approximately 83% of Americans report receiving a gift they neither wanted nor needed.  Further, of all the things we buy, only about 1% is still used six months after purchase.  That's an obscene amount of waste.

Last year I blogged about seeing a stack of boxes that contained a product called "Easy Feet," designed so you wouldn't have to bend down to wash your feet in the shower.  This year those items were again being sold at our local CVS store.  Apparently, since our real needs are already met companies have to invent *needs* for us.  This article at Alternet.org talks about the madness of our shopping habits:
Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers. 
People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us. [Emphasis added by me.]
The Alternet article goes on to point out how the U.S. government is always working on ways to simulate spending.  This policy is unsustainable.  We cannot endlessly spend and consume - needs and resources are finite.  We've got to come up with a better way of life.

An example of how far we've drifted from rational thinking is this Mazda car commercial:

Selling a product in conjunction with a movie with an anti-consumption message - and using images from that very movie?  Really?  Really?

Do yourself, your family, and your planet a favor and get out your calendar right now.  Make a note in November to remind yourself to opt out of the 2013 mass holiday shopping frenzy.

3 comments:

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

A few years ago I would yell at the TV every time a commercial for Visa came on using the Sheryl Crow song "Soak Up the Sun" because the lyrics contain lines such as:

It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got

It's for reasons like this that I stay away from the TV most of the time, I just get too worked up.

EcoGrrl said...

I was reading about the increase in the already staggering number of rapes in the Congo as the men are rounding up women and moving them out of the way to make room for the mining operations.

Lisa Sharp said...

This year I mostly got useful things or things I asked for. My family donates to causes and goes on a trip together in place of some gifts. The memories are worth far more than the stuff.

And yes the Lorax ads bugged me, most of it they did so well but not that part.