Love a great deal? Me too! There’s nothing like seeing a sale price on an item we’ve been hankering for. It doesn’t take much sometimes for us to plunk down the plastic and justify the purchase. Do we need the item? Shh, who cares! We want it, and that’s enough.
I’m not sure about your experience, but around here it seems a lot of things have gotten cheaper, especially electronics (not housing or utilities, sadly). Grandma will say they don’t make them the way they used to. Once items were made to last and, if they quit working, you fixed them or called in someone who could. Who calls a repairman now to fix a TV or a printer? It’s cheaper to toss it in the trash and buy a new one.
One of the reasons we need cheaper stuff is the economy is so lousy. A lot of people are out of a job, or working for a lower wage than they used to. Yet we’re not willing to give up our way of life. (I’m speaking of myself here, too. Point a finger, and three are pointing back at me!)
Dare I say we’ve created the problem? We vote for the kind of world we want to live in with every bill we pull out of our wallets and every slide of plastic. The big message we’re sending is price is all that matters.
We sent that message so consistently that a lot of companies took processing off shore so they could compete with one another. Do people in developing countries need jobs? Sure they do. Like us, they need jobs that are sustainable in their own local economies. They don’t need multinational handouts to make all kinds of garbage for North America.
Have you ever wondered what a worker thinks as they assemble some cheap toy with no use whatsoever? Are they wishing they could give one to their kids to play with? Or are they thinking about the people with so much wealth to waste on junk like this?
The flip side is that our local economies here in the West are floundering. We depend on workers from overseas to feed our appetite for cheap goods while our friends and neighbors have no jobs, while megastores spring up and independents close down.
What can we do to reverse the trend?
We can’t change things all by ourselves. But we can vote for a better world with every disposable dollar we spend. Buy from craft fairs and farmers’ markets. Support your small local businesses whenever you can. It may cost you a little more, I know. But that dollar goes round and round in your community and may come back to bless you.
Look the people in the eye who created or grew the items you’re thinking of buying. They are real people, members of your community. You can help them to earn a living and keep options open for everyone.
“Cheap” has demanded a huge cost of our Western way of life. There are more important things at stake than price. Are you up for the challenge?
For more reading, check out Why Buy Locally Owned?.
Originally posted in 2012 by Valerie Comer at choose-now.com.
Thanks for the reminder, Valerie. I try to remember to buy less and shop locally, and I also shop second-hand a lot, and borrow items I don’t use often from friends. There’s also a site called buy me once dot com that curates products that are made to last a lifetime.
Valerie Comer says
That is a cool website, Reina! Thanks so much for sharing.