Like most other people of the heavy left leaning persuasion, I've had consumerism on the brain in recent years. My right leaning buddies don't seem to talk about this as much, but they do seem to warm to the subject when I bring it up in conjunction with, "Where the heck is all my money going? And how did all this crap end up in my basement?"
I resonate with those photo spreads in Yes! magazine showing the sea of abandoned cell phones and the island of forgotten Ford Fiestas. I'm forever frustrated by ridiculous packaging, the wasteful "simplicity" of so many items in grocery stores, and the inability of Richmond, VA to take up recycling 5/6 of the plastic containers I end up with. I don't find shopping relaxing. It creeps me out.
But then there's "social consumerism" which is the co-mingling of interaction with others and buying. This combination is very alluring to me. I LOVE charity auctions. We have one in our congregation, as does our sister congregation and I get all excited about those. In Cul de Sac Blues, Mrs. Wonders and other neighbors go on a second-hand-store odyssey. And here at our church quilting group, we love to go on a fabric and notion binge together. These are wonderful, memorable community occasions, but there's the eternal consumerism problem - I always end up with too much stuff.
I don't have answers to this. It is something I struggle with as I try to lead a sustainable lifestyle and be a good role model for my kids. Then my son and I go to the quilting store and buy twice as much as planned because he wants to make a quilt with frogs and race cars.
My daughter seems to have a plan, however. This morning in our ongoing struggle to get her potty trained she made the defining statement. She peed on the bag of quilting stuff.