Tag Archives: mindless consumerism

Self-isolating and realizing how little I need

I spent 2 hours yesterday looking at pants. I had gotten an e-mail for 50% off one of my favorite brands. The prices were ridiculously low compared to what I usually spend. I went over the web pages and weighed the various options. Since it’s almost summer, I need capris! And these cigarette pants with all the pockets are so damn cute. And I better order a size down because I’m really between sizes. Oh hell, I’d better order several pairs, just in case I come out the other side of this pandemic a full size smaller.

(Still learning this lesson)

Two hours later, I had exactly two pairs in the basket. Those were the only ones in my size and preferred colors available on the website. Evidently, a lot of people got that e-mail, and they were all the same size as me. Still, the pants were a bargain and I really liked them. I had input all my information and was about to push the “order” button — and then I didn’t. The longer I sat there, the more I thought about my overly full closet with complete wardrobes in multiple sizes. I have four pairs of capris and really don’t need more. And the cigarette pants? Yes, they were adorable and half price, but when would I wear them?

That was the kicker. I don’t need more pants. I work from home, and this will continue into the foreseeable future. Even outside of the pandemic, I only work a day or two in the office a week. At that rate, I could go 2-3 weeks with my current wardrobe and not repeat anything. I will likely retire long before I need to add more articles of work clothing to the mix.

Painful as it was, I closed the page. My two pairs of pants for $74 will go to someone else.

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My inbox overfloweth: I’ve noticed that my inbox has been stuffed to the gills since the onset of the pandemic and previous stay-at-home orders. Companies that used to send an e-mail once a week now send multiple e-mail messages a day, reminding me of the latest the sale underway. I understand that it is a rough time and that businesses are in a panic, trying to maintain profits or stay afloat. But multiple daily communications aren’t a fix. They are an annoyance. We are all figuring out how to make life work right now, and increased pressure to buy isn’t helping. If anything, I’ve reached a point where I want to be sold to less often. Like many people, our finances are less certain, and the necessities have become more expensive if you can find them at all. I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I’m not buying enough during the pandemic.

My requests for fewer e-mails from these businesses are ignored. My only recourse is to put their addresses into the spam box. That doesn’t benefit either of us.

And does anyone need a t-shirt featuring the pandemic? Doesn’t that seem a bit tone-deaf? People are suffering and dying, and somehow a funny t-shirt doesn’t really seem appropriate. And who would see it, other than the people I am self-isolating with? I don’t think that would spark-joy on any level. Not for me, my family, or any essential worker involved in its manufacture or delivery.

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So, the pandemic has forced many of us to reprioritize just about everything in our lives, including our spending habits — what we want vs. what we need. How much of what we buy is merely mindless consumerism? How often do we shop out of boredom, to kill time, or to see something pretty that appeals to us? I, for one, am trying to use this time to move beyond buying for the sake of buying. I know that I can do better and am trying to adjust my thinking — use what I have rather than search for the next shiny object. Or a pair of capris at half price.  

And then there is the whole issue of how our purchases impact others, the essential workers who don’t have the luxury of isolating themselves from exposure to a deadly virus. I have two of those essentials in my immediate family, and it makes me ill thinking of their vulnerability. Recently, some slack-jaw threatened my son when he asked him to wait outside for an order pickup when he wasn’t wearing a mask (state regulation). Yah, that’s something for some moron to get upset over.

I’m still trying to find some silver lining in all of this. Maybe reducing our mindless consumerism is one of them. 

I also liked this article on Not Wanting to Buy Anything

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash