Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Spending money....

I don't know enough about both sides of the issues to join in on discussing whether "big box" retailers and chain stores are good or bad for America. I have a feeling it isn't as simple as good or bad. More likely they serve a real purpose, which is why they have flourished, and in doing so,they've caused some damage as well. I don't think "small and local" is inherently better than "big and national." But, as I said, I don't really know enough to make a judgement.

But one point did come up in a recent discussion that I think it worth pursuing. How in the world did we become such a consumer based culture to begin with? Perhaps the most important question to ask are not whether "big box" is bad, but whether our society's mindset of continual accumulation of stuff is the real problem. I'm not talking about buying food or essential clothing. I'm talking about all the other stuff we buy, almost daily. I've started being aware in my own life how much "stuff" enters the house in a week's time. Clothes, bedspread, sheets, shoes, books, magazines, deodorant, video games, DVD's, CD's, stuffed animal, pens, ice cream, cookies, milkshake, fast food, nail clippers, coffee, 1000 paper plates, storage containers, etc. The list goes on.

Of course, for most of the list I can argue we "need" the item. I don't want to go without deodorant (or let my sons, for that matter), and I'm sure coffee is essential to my mental health. But when did we get to the place that we simply expected all these things in our lives?

Our national pastime isn't baseball or Nascar, it's shopping. WalMart didn't happen in a vacuum. It filled a "need." Whether as a social outing in the mall, or at the computer, we spend a lot of time spending money. Why is that, and how did it happen?


Kansas Bob said...

Contentment, or the lack of it, seems to be the prevailing issue. I think about what Paul wrote to Timothy::

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:6-11)

Dancingirl365 said...

I agree that is probably the more important question, Carrie. I've noticed the stuff, too! And to my chagrin at least one of our children seems to have an insatiable appetite for "stuff"... new stuff, better stuff, the latest stuff.

Maybe we have a consumer mentality because of the constant deluge of advertisements tantalizing our desires.

No answers, but want you to know I agree it's a good question!