Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dear Friends,

It's amazing to me how much fuss we make about being environmentally responsible, and yet our lives are so full of useless clutter, more so than ever before.

We co-operate with the marketing people and the big box stores who encourage us to spend our money without really thinking about it, and to buy anything and everything that is thrown our way. Because so many things are now made in third world countries, they are still cheap, attainable, therefore perceived to be affordable. And, guess what? They are throw-away, that means garbage that clutters the environment and clutters our lives. We feel we have to buy, buy, buy. And yet, so much of this "stuff" is scarily inferior to the products we are used to buying and producing right here at home. I really miss "made in the USA", and the confidence, competence, and the quality of life it afforded. We have to demand that quality once again. Now I feel like my own grandmother. I remember a time when things had value. You could just trust it. We just assumed the product was O.K. What a unique idea! What a luxury! Now I read labels, warnings, where things were made or grown, and end up putting the thing back on the shelf.

I would rather own one great outfit, one great pair of shoes, one quality handbag, or one well made sofa, or chair, than 10 poorly made things that I'd have to dispose of within a few months because it either fell apart, or looked shabby, or was just not comfortable. Get wise to it folks! It's waste! It's too expensive to throw things out because they are "crap".There's much we can learn from the Europeans and their standards, as far as material consumption is concerned. They buy fewer things, but they buy quality, for the most part. I say "most" because there is an exception to every generalization, and I am sure there are many Europeans in the same consumer frenzy that we are in. Yes, we are a consumer society, and yes, our economy is dependent on people buying things, and yes I love "things" as much as the next guy, and I do my share of buying. And I love capitalism too, so don't get the idea that I spin my own loincloth and live in a tree. Here's my take: I like "quality" things and I like to live with what I purchase. I don't like waste. Guess that's the New England Yankee in me. And while we are conserving paper and plastic bags, and oil and gasoline, and while we are buying organically grown fruits and vegetables, and recycling like mad, don't forget the pollution created by all of this "stuff" we are importing that is flooding our marketplace.

Now, you may ask why we at Shopsicle, are in the retail home furnishings products business if I am so critical of profligate spending? We're all for spending money and having a good time doing it. But, we want you to receive value for your money. We deal in real value: quality materials, design and craftmanship, mostly at affordable prices. We believe in extravagance too, if you can handle it. Abundance is good for the soul.The key is, you receive what you are paying for. We believe that beautiful things are part of the quality of life. Poor workmanship is a rip off at any price.

Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts. If you are like me, you're probably feeling a little depressed about our slipped values, our lower standards. We can protest the infusion of "junk" in our stores by simply not buying it. Guess what? That would probably contribute to the health of our environment as well and to the health of our economy. If we are to remain a consumer society, and I certainly hope we are, let's insist on high standards. Hey, it wouldn't hurt to make some things at home in the USA for a change, for our own consumption and to export to other countries.

Visit Shopsicle, and see the great "green" products we feature to help clean our environment. Be sure to sign up for our free newsletter. For May, we're doing a piece on non-toxic wall paint.

To your well-being,

As ever, Joan


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree but don't know what we are able to do about it, other than boycott. Trouble is, there is a generation out there (or two) which is not aware of what QUALITY is. They have never seen it in soft goods. They know quality technology, yes, but that's all. Shabby clothing in stores probably looks perfectly normal to them.

What can one person do? -Perplexed

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I are with you. We are in our fifties and remember quality clothing. We remember what made in the USA meant. Now, even drugs are made in third world countries. Some of them might be safe, but what is our control over them? Very scary.

Thanks for your blog. Mary Ellen

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is another point to be made, and that is the cost of fuel to get these outsouced products into the USA, products that compromise the consumer. What about the fuel costs and pollution?


7:54 AM  

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