I need a weekend bag – I’m going away for a few days next month and I don’t really own anything suitable.
So I thought I would treat myself to a half decent bag that would come in useful for short trips away, something I would use again.
I automatically turned to the Internet and googled “weekend bag”. There were lots of lovely bags to choose from from lots of different online shops. Some where cheap and cheerful, nice dotty fabric, cheap synthetic fabric, made in the east using cheap labour. Others where expensive, hundreds of pounds, high class, top quality leather, made in Britain by locally employed, skilled people…. But ultimately, I felt that I couldn’t bring myself to buy a cheap, unethically produced product nor did I want to ‘invest’ a lot of money in an expensive product that I thought didn’t really suit me – Cambridge Satchels and Radley bags are lovely but I sometimes think they look a little pretentious.
So I went to my next usual port of call – Ebay. I’ve bought things from Ebay before. Last year our daughter Ellie asked for an iPad for her birthday. There was no way we could afford a new one so I managed to buy a nearly new one, still in its box with all its bits from a lovely lady in Suffolk. It had been a Christmas present to her from her son but she didn’t really want it and she didn’t know how to use it so she was selling it on. I paid half what a new ipad would have cost.
Back to my bag hunting – I found a few lovely weekend bags on EBay, I made sure I had a strict maximum price and I only looked at ‘used’ bags, not new ones. I’m bidding on a Drift messenger bag. I looked Drift bags up, a new one would cost me £159, my maximum bid is £15. So far I’ve got the winning bid.
It got me thinking “why do I really have to buy new products?”
I’m sure you have all thought the same thing before, I’m just a little bit slow off the mark. I have often thought about the mass consumption of consumerism bla, bla, bla or whatever the right terms are but then it’s always just been easier to go to Amazon and order what I wanted. It was cheap, postage was sometimes free and usually quick. Job done.
But there’s the other side – what happens to all the stuff people don’t want. What happens when Mrs Smith from Oxford gets bored of her best dress and chucks it out so she can buy a new one next time she goes to Tesco for her weekly shop? Or Mr Jones wants a new lawn mower (sorry, very stereotypical but you get the idea), he buys a new one and just tucks the old one behind the shed to rust slowly.
My point is – it’s all stuff, stuff and more stuff. Most of this stuff is perfectly usable, still got life in it, the only thing that’s wrong with the stuff is that it’s owner has got bored with it and doesn’t want/need it anymore. The world is filling up with unwanted stuff because we humans want more stuff.
I’ve always loved rummaging through charity and vintage shops. When we got married our wedding was all about vintage, reused finds. Our tea tent was made up of old embroidered table cloths, china and tea pots found in local charity shops or borrowed from friends. Some of my best china comes from car boot sales.
So I’m setting myself the challenge of not buying anything new this year. If I need clothes, shoes, household china, curtains, coats, gadgets……can’t think of anything else at the moment but let’s just say apart from food, cosmetics (not that I wear much), bathroom things, underwear, I’m pretty much going to buy other people’s unwanted stuff.
There will probably be some problems that I haven’t thought of yet. I will need to set myself some rules…. Of course I don’t always have to turn to the Internet. There’s charity shops, car boot sales, vintage shops.
I’ve got a feeling 2015 will be challenging but fun….hmmmmmm..