Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some more thoughts on consumerism and buying nothing

Chuck's

I want to update slightly my recent blog post :: Some thoughts on consumerism and buying nothing :: with some further thoughts... hope you don't mind???
As I type this post on my Apple iBook... I am dressed in DC Shoes (white Uno model)... baggy Levi's... an orange Stussy tee... and CK boxers. I am listening to music through iTunes on Goodmans speakers, sitting on an IKEA chair with my iPod charging beside me. I have just checked the time on my Casio G-Shock watch [20th anniversary ltd ed in stainless steel]... sipped Tetley's tea from a mug with Donald Duck printed on it... and searched in my Manhattan Portage messenger bag for my Moleskine notebook and Bic 4 colour pen.
I wanted to clarify this statement...
  1. My Apple iBook is a 1.33ghz powerpc G4 - its a few years old and still going strong. Its running Leopard nicely and I don't feel the need to upgrade just yet.
  2. The DC Shoes [Uno model] were purchased in the TKMaxx in Inverness for £15.
  3. The baggy Levi's are 5 years old... and were a gift from Boyd for being the Usher at his wedding to the mighty Lorraine.
  4. The orange Stussy Tee was a gift from an old friend [who I miss] who brought it back from a trip to Miami (even though it says TOKYO on it)
  5. The CK boxers were a vice of mine [want to look good for Olly] but I've gotten over it.
  6. The Goodmans speakers are more than 11 years old and were a gift.
  7. The IKEA chair is 1o years old [bought when Olly and I got married]
  8. The iPod is a 80gb 5th gen that I bought last year in Philly for £60 less than I would have paid in the UK.
  9. The Casio G-Shock watch was a gift from Olly 5 years ago... and she assures me she got it discounted.
  10. Tetley's Tea - don't know how much one bag is.
  11. Donald Duck mug was free... I think.
  12. The Manhattan Portage bag was bought in TKMaxx in Inverness for £15 or so.
  13. My Moleskine notebook was a gift from Olly last Christmas.
  14. The Bic 4-colour pen was about £1... I think.
a) I like bargains...

As I wrote in the previous post... I can think for myself. Obviously, I'm not totally original... but I try to be inspired by right thinking... and try to avoid the dictates of an industry based on consumption and greed. [Note - I try... Its not easy, by any means.]

In trying to think for myself, I seek to subvert the fashion industry > my favourite shop is TKMaxx > its a discount shop that sells "out-of-season" names. By refusing to buy "the latest thing" I do my bit to get out of the cynical cycles of the industry. In turn, by shopping in Charity Shops... I do my bit for the charity and continue to refuse to adhere to normative patterns of consumption.

Think about it> shop local... shop discount... shop 2nd hand... these are ways we can have an impact. We don't need to pay full price for the latest thing.

b) I cherish gifts...

I cherish gifts... I love it when people spoil me with sweet stuff (remember - I am a consumer and I dig well designed kit). I appreciate the thought that goes into a gift and treasury what I am given.

I acknowledge the fact that the gifts are an expression of love and caring... but I also appreciate the love regardless of the gift > the love transcends the gift. Sometimes the most important gift is time... or a text... or a coffee together. I realise this now... after all these years > its the thought thats the most precious.

I also appreciate my surroundings... my place in creation... the urban space I work in and the suburban space I live in. Its about walking barefoot in the sand... as much as it is about having a sweet pair of kicks.

c) I am careful with my money...

I have a responsibility as a husband, father and provider to pay the bills. Olly [thank God!!!] helps to pay for all the good stuff. As a result... I am careful with any money I have > I try to focus on what I need now... rather than what I want/desire/drool over.

My hobby and my sport is music... listening to music... and that's my big thing. Even so... I am a big "bargain bin" raker > with some success, if I may be so bold.

That said... I'd rather spend money on a coffee with a good friend.

Stewardship [being careful with what we have] is important and something lost in the mess of consumerism. Stewardship says "you have what you need" when Consumerism says "buy more... more often!"

Its about thinking before acting> Do I need this? Is it the best product for my money? Can I get it cheaper? Are their more suitable alternatives? Why do I want to buy this product?

d) I don't judge a book by its cover... even though I can see how much it costs.

I believe that God looks on the inside rather than the outside. To this end... whats inside is more important to me than my physical appearance. I might spot some nice product when I am out and about but I don't think anymore about that person other than "he's / she's got taste". Judging people by what we have or look like is wrong.

This world places value on appearance > the gangrenous hierarchy of the rich and powerful is defined by its conspicuous greed and consumption. Reject this notion. It pervades our churches and gatherings > the very places that should be an oasis in this storm. What I have doesn't make me more or less anything > please judge me by actions, reactions and my choices. Do not judge me on what I have... or, more importantly, don't have.

Afterall... Jesus was homeless! Think about it.

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1 comment:

Dad M. said...

I had commented first time round but it did not seem to be saved on your blog.
As individuals, even Christian individuals, we tend to judge people by how each person looks and what she/ he has. As much as our own personal wants, this drives the acquistiveness of human nature. We have now also to become conspicuous consumers.
Despite God's word to Samuel not to judge by externals as a new King had to be chosen and the Lord's word on seeking first, there are very powerful forces at work in consumerism, even affecting committed Christians.
You have been brave enough to examine your thoughts and actions openly on this issue and it is commendable. Perhaps we should all do the same as we approach Christmas. Do I reject the spirit of a pagan winter festival in all my thoughts and actions at this time?
Good debate to raise, Thomas.

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