Interesting article: consumerism and want vs. need

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Marge_Simpson, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting the article. I really appreciate where the blogger comes from. It is something that everyone takes so much for granted about getting their needs and wants mixed up. But I think it is a matter of recognising it for what it is and then how you act on that.

    We have a fantastic program here in Australian TV called the Gruen Transfer. You want to look at how advertisting works it basically says it all. Episodes are on Youtube if you want to have a look.

    I am a pretty bad consumer. I usually don't get sucked much into what I see advertised on TV. But I do get annoyed at those products that try to make out problems that really haven't been problems before and people seemed to get by quite well before without them. Such the multitude of cleaning products out in the market place when something like bi-carb soda and elbow grease will do the trick just as well.

    But if everyone lived like I did most companies would probably go broke.
     
  2. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    PDilemma; I don't think you are a snob. I just think you're shopping at the wrong second hand stores. Most second-hand booksellers (physical or virtual) would not sell dirty books or books smelling of dog pee. In fact the poorest of the world's poor would probably not give dirty, smelly gifts for special occasions.

    A book can be very old and still intact and clean. Equating second-hand with dirty and smelly is simply not an accurate claim.
     
  3. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    People still wear Ann Taylor? My hopelessly shopaholic aunt buys TONS of Ann Taylor stuff when she finds them at a bargain and gives a lot of it to us because she quite literally can't fit it in her house anymore. And some of it she can't fit into, which means they've been sitting in her house NWT for years. :lol: My younger sister doesn't like the style (too old, she says) and I don't need career clothes because I work in a lab. I ended up giving a large amount of it to my broke coworker who recently got a teaching job and can no longer wear her old ratty clothes with holes. She was OVER THE MOON - this was a collection that included several full sets of Ann Taylor skirt/pant suits, some NWT, and yes, a skirt similarly priced to yours. I was :confused: over why someone would be willing to pay $126 for such a thing but I ask no questions anymore, I just dole out the goods to a willing recipient who will use them, and my mom's happy because I've helped clean out her closet! :lol: Every time I see my coworker now, she's wearing something that originally came from my aunt. :rofl:

    My mom did attempt to sell some of these clothes super-cheap in a yard sale, but nobody in our area is size 00/0. :shuffle: It's quite fortunate that my coworker is almost exactly the same size as my teeny mom.

    So yes, having a shopaholic friend/relative a similar size as you is also another way to acquire nice clothing. :shuffle: Even if I don't wear Ann Taylor, I've acquired some really nice cashmere items this way...

    I do buy clothes second-hand when it's really nice material, such as my wool full-lined Diane von Furstenberg dress that I've worn to several social events that took place in cold weather. Dunno how much it went for new, but I paid $25 for it on ebay.

    My biggest steal second-hand was probably the Zojirishi breadmaker that I got off Craigslist for $40. :cheer: And it actually WORKS, unlike my used $30 inkjet photo printer that refuses to print magenta. :( Sometimes things are originally made so badly that you might as well buy them new before they crap out on you...

    I admit, art supplies are my weakness but I was very proud of myself when I was at Michaels the other day shopping for a big art project - I was looking at something I didn't need and told myself very literally, "No you don't need that, PUT IT DOWN" and I did. :lol:

    And yes, I dislike the idea of consumer-heavy advertising but actually doing it is really fun. You get to think about ideas and brands and how to visually translate them, which is actually quite interesting. I'd like to be able to use it for good (social causes, non-profits, etc) rather than evil though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  4. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    ^^ Ann Taylor, just did a huge brand overhaul. The store, in the mall near me, seems to be getting a lot more action. I don't shop there, because the clothes don't fit me (wrong body type and too tall for them). But, what I see in the windows, looks a bit more stylish.
     
  5. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Considering that she has said SEVERAL TIMES that she buys secondhand books herself, and considering that she has said SEVERAL TIMES that the dirty books were GIFTS--meaning that she didn't buy them herself--I don't think the problem is that she shops in the wrong stores. Nor do I think she has equated dirty and smelly with secondhand--although secondhand certainly can be.

    :wall:
     
  6. Hannahclear

    Hannahclear Well-Known Member

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    Good read! Makes me feel better about how pretty much all our furniture is second-hand. It is easy to look at other people's lives and feel that you have to "catch up." But I don't. I can choose not to.

    I think coupons and sales are a tool, but can easily lead one to spend more. You just have to always question yourself before you buy.
     
  7. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Nicely said. Coupons and sales only save you money if you buy what you need or want (if you can afford the "want" :)). I think big box places are an issue re: savings as well. There are some things that are worth buying in bulk. But, we often go to Costco, Sam's Club (and the like) and buy too much of things with a shelf life, or impulse buy something we really won't use enough to justify the bulk. When you throw out half of what you buy, there is no savings.

    Justs wanted to throw in, brand name products are not always more expensive for the same thing. Sometimes a brand can actually be better than the off brand product. For instance, I have tried off brand bran flakes, I have not found any that are even remotely as good as Kellog's. So, saving on off brand, if you won't eat it, again doesn't save money. I also buy Skim Plus milk, I like the taste of it better than regular skim milk, and it has added calcium.
     
  8. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I find that people can justify any thing they buy. it's always those other folks that are doing it "wrong" and don't understand their own actions. :lol:
     
  9. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I don't think anyone is necessarily doing it wrong. I think we all have different needs/wants/tastes. For one person sacrificing taste for a few cents is worth it, or necessary, for others it isn't. For one person buying a new sweater on sale feels like saving money. For another, if you don't need a sweater, you didn't save money. I also think there are wants that satisfy emotional needs. I have bought something I really didn't need, when I was feeling down, it cheered me up. There is something to be said for that. As long as it's kept in check and you don't blow your budget. I think need and want vary person to person, physical to emotional.

    Here is a personal example of different views of need/vs/want. Our main bathroom is in need of moderate (not full) renovation. It's 25 years old, the sinks are showing some rust around the edges, the floor tile is cracked in spots. My husband wants raised panel wainscoting around the living room walls. Both projects are about the same cost. I think doing the wainscoting is a gross waste of money - he has wanted it for years. He thinks the bathroom can wait - I think it should be done before the wainscoting. We each see our preferred project as more necessary. I see the bathroom as adding more value to the house, I don't see the wainscoting adding anything, but...:)
     
  10. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I think most of what I buy are want and not need. Take food for example, do I really need to buy the oven roasted chicken at the market for 7-8 $? Nope. I could've have easily bought a can of tuna for dinner for 97 cents and saved lots of cash.
     
  11. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Yup, though inour society many will consider fresh food a necessity
    And yes it is always this "i am not as bad as my neighbor" mentality that justifies what we want and i do that too like eveyone else
     
  12. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Why do think wrong had quotation marks?
     
  13. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. ;)
     
  14. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    I buy what I can afford, whether I need it or just want it. :shrug:
    Although this discussion did make me take inventory of the rooms I am sitting in (I'm in the dining room wide open to the living room. Out of the main "stuff' in it I

    bought new:
    couch
    television (on sale last Christmas ;) )
    tv stand
    fish tank/stand
    china cabinet
    "dry sink"
    computer
    computer stand
    stereo

    bought used:
    two end tables
    computer chair

    was gifted:
    hanging lamp
    table lamp
    wine rack
    cedar chest

    inherited:
    grandfather clock
    recliner
    dining room table and chairs
    sewing machine (which I never use except to display pictures on :lol:)
    rocking chair

    So, eight things used (counting the dining table/chairs as one), four new gifts, and nine new bought by me. That's probably not too bad, considering three of the new things are electonics and therefore not sustainable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  15. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I understood that, I was agreeing with you. :)
     
  16. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    One thing that encourages consumerism is living in a house and losing track of whether you have something. How many people (including me and my family) have trouble finding something, go out and get one, just to discover you actually have the item in question in the first place? Then we find ourselves having ten staplers, 50 pencils, 40 pens....(Today I kept my family from going to the store twice because I actually could locate the item they thought we don't have in the house. Yes, we have glue sticks and we have razer knives, you just need to keep track of things where you can find them ) LOL
     
  17. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    :lol: I'm a big fan of saying to myself "I haven't used this in a year, throw it out!" and then as soon as I do, needing it. :p
     
  18. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

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    I definitely have too much stuff, I'm planning on donating a lot of it. There are a bunch of clothes in my closet that still have the tags, mostly fancy dresses and I have no where to wear them. I have a big miss-match of dishes and mugs, the oddest thing is one of them I don't even know where it came from, it is a mug that says I love Hawaii, and I've never even been there :lol:. I probably have a hundred pens and pencils and most of the pens don't even work 1/2 of the time.

    What bugs me most is the new technology that always breaks on me. I have probably bought 3 printers this year because I had to replace the ones that broke about 2 months after purchase. Even my macbook pro broke before the warranty was up. THings really aren't built like they used to, even when you buy the more expensive version.
     
  19. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    Reminds me of when my then-boyfriend used to visit me at my place and would stay just long enough to actually bring over stuff, but then would leave it and it would have long disappeared by the next time he came to visit. I solved this problem by rounding up an enormous cardboard box and scribbling his name on the side. Anything (and I do mean anything small and in danger of disappearing...) he left at my place went into that box, and voila, there it was next time he came to visit! :lol:
     
  20. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

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  21. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    I like that the author ignores her food/drink consumption. What's the difference between spending $50 on a dress and $50 on a bottle of wine? You're still outta $50.

    And this always *bugs* me:

    I don't know. If you're so hard up that you can't buy luggage, then maybe you shouldn't take an expensive vacation. What's wrong with staycations?
     
  22. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    The way I was looking at the luggage issue is that if you borrow someone's suitcase enough times and bring back chocolates in lieu of rent then eventually it will have been cheaper to have gone to Chinatown to buy your own dang suitcase.
     
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    ^^ A little off topic, but, be careful with buying luggage in Chinatown. Not that you need to buy top of the line luggage, but often the stuff you get in Chinatown is really crap. The zippers break, the seams split. If you're traveling by car, not a problem, but by plane, could be a problem. I know people who have bought cheap "designer" luggage in Chinatown, only to have it fall apart when tossed about by baggage handlers. Sometimes it's worth it to spend a little more first, because you save in the long run.

    but, basically, I agree with Southpaw's point :)
     
  24. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    It depends on how much you travel, I guess. If you only need a big suitcase every couple of years, why not borrow one? But if you travel a lot, then it's not cost effective.

    OTOH, I don't think the article was about saving money but about lowering the demand for new items. Chocolates are a consumable made from renewable resources. Most luggage is not made from renewable resources so it might make sense to spend on chocolate instead of luggage if your goal is to cut down on what ends up in landfills and uses up resources like coal and oil.
     
  25. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    It has something to do with how we are raised too. I have nephews who will toss freshly barbecued meat with barely a bite on it just because it is too spicy. They do that because their parents let them do it. (WHile the parents do not throw away perfectly good meat they do throw away stuff just a litle used. ) By the time these nephews grow up and have their own kids, I'm sure they'll be tossing even more slightly used stuff to trash. There's the recycling bin but many things are still not recyclable.
     
  26. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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    OK if that's the case then I still say she's better off getting a suitcase of her own but instead of going to those schysters on Canal Street she should go to a thrift store and look for it there like she already does with other stuff**. That suitcase in the thrift store is already made, the damage is already done. So if she buys it from the thrift store then the thrift store now has an open slot for a different already made used suitcase that someone else can come along and adopt. So the thrift store is the clearinghouse for the recycled suitcases of the world and she doesn't have to waste any more money on buying chocolates. Everybody wins! Well, except for the person who isn't getting the chocolates anymore. Oh well, they can take their own trip and buy their own damn chocolates. I guess the chocolatier is losing a little business, too. Oh well, it's just one customer. If everyone starts buying their own suitcases and doesn't buy their chocolates in exchange for suitcase privileges then maybe there will be a problem but for right now it's just one lost customer with her own private suitcase. The good news is she can use the money she saves on the chocolates to save towards a $20 loaf of bread because when that Euro goes kablooey, lordy we're all doomed! Except for the suitcases, they're not doomed at all and they'll do just fine and get along much as they always have. Oh crap, she's in England right? I'm not sure what the conversion is and how much a loaf of bread will cost in England when the Euro goes kablooey and the melted chocolate hits the steel-bladed antique fan. I'll tell you this, though. She'll sure be grateful for that thrift store suitcase when she has to live out of it!

    :scream:

    **Stuff (circa 1986)
     
  27. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I agree. They were basically saying why do we need to keep consuming or generating demand for products when we could use something that already exists. And particularly when others may not mind you using them. I have borrowed suitcases from family members, particularly when my stuff was in storage.

    If I go to the cafe at work and buy hot food, I always take plastic container that I get the staff to put my food in rather than using their containers which would only be thrown out. And the other thing I did was buy a thermo cup with a lid which I take there to get hot chocolate in. I think I have saved generating quite a lot of rubbish that way.
     
  28. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    Except if she's hardly ever going to use a suitcase, borrowing makes more sense that buying second hand. Especially if you live in a small space and don't have much room to store a suitcase.

    Nothing wrong with allocating money to a gift rather than a suitcase you're hardly ever going to use.

    After Christmas the thrift stores are full of breadmakers people got but didn't want for Christmas. That would be a wiser spending choice than either a suitcase or a nice box of chocolates. You could make nice breads for gifts.

    But better hurry I guess, before the world goes all to hell and Europe's proles are begging for bread again!!,

    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  29. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I don't see fault with your nephews, I see fault with their parents. If the kids can't eat something because it's too spicy, why are the parents making it so hot, that they can't eat it? I can't eat spicy food, and I've had one or two occasions where I've ordered something in a restaurant, been told it's not spicy, then couldn't eat it, because it was too spicy. Not caring for the taste of something is one thing, but spicy (for some) can be a problem. I don't see that in the same category as wasteful.
     
  30. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    It was an extended family reunion
    Parenta did not make the food
    if it is spicy others can eat it