About Us

We don't actually advocate going without socks! We are two sisters with a common goal: 2011 is our year to step away from cultural messages that try to force us to define ourselves as consumers. To that end, we are committed to spend this year buying only what we need, and to buying used items whenever possible.

We decided to use this forum to document our experiences, share successes and challenges, and support each other in our efforts.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For Your Viewing Discomfort

Dear Amy,

I don't think I talked you down from buying the throw pillows. I think I just asked if you really needed them, which guilted you out of buying them. This question has worked well for us at the thrift store in recent weeks. It makes us think about things, and yes, we too have often left the store with non-buyer's remorse. But rarely do I think back more than a few days and even remember what it was I wanted so badly at the time. Even more rarely do I find myself continuing to wish I had it. Once in a while I do, but a little wanting never hurt anyone.

At your suggestion I watched "No Impact Man," which gave me some things to think about. Since I was sick and didn't feel like getting up off the couch (unrelated to movie), I followed that movie up with "WalMart: The High Cost of Low Price." This gave me even more to think about. It might seem like these two movies don't have anything to do with each other, but I think they were a perfect combination. And here are a couple of my thoughts:
  1. We have got to become more aware of what we are spending our money on. Where does it come from? What is the cost of getting it to us--in human suffering, in environmental impact, (and of least importance) in dollars and cents? We choose to turn a blind eye, and I think that will come back to bite us.
  2. We must learn to do without if it means that others will be or have been hurt in order to get us what we want--that means strawberries out of season as well as the 99 cent sweatshirt.
  3. We can take a stand, even if it won't make a measurable difference. No one cares that I don't shop at WalMart, but I plant seeds when I tell people I don't. My weekly landfill contributions aren't going to destroy the environment compared to what I saw them throwing away every single day at the hospital when Mother was there, but it's something I can do, and the fact that I'm careful about what I throw away means I also plant seeds. When I tell people I compost, they ask questions. They think, maybe only for a second, but they think, about doing something differently. That's got to be of value.
And since I'm promoting media today, if you'd prefer to read, here's an interesting article on spending from a recent Newsweek issue.


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