I was up north on the weekend, and stopped into the local Wal Mart to pick up some items. I have not been to a Wal Mart in a number of years, but was shocked at the price tag on a lot of items. T-shirts or shorts for $6 (not the latest trends). A two pack of my contract solution for $13 ($15 at Costco, and I thought that was cheap). Two glass baby bottles for $4 (My wife said she paid $10 each). Everytime I checked out the price of something I was floored.
This place was built to sell us stuff we don't need. It's like a drug. It was hard to control myself. You don't need the actual item, but cannot resist because it's so cheap. I saw a portable bbq for $30. The propane tank was $10. I had no need for it, but thought to myself, "If I had to go on a picnic, I would buy this and trash it afterwards." Like Costco, if you don't stick to your list, you could end up buying twice what you came for.
It got me thinking, a lot of the stuff in there is crap. It is cheaply made and made in China for the most part. It won't last long, but we don't care. Look how cheap it was. If I have to buy another one in a few years time, no problem.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with a co-worker last fall. We were discussing out weekend, and I said I was tuning up the lawn mower and storing it for the winter. He laughed at me and said "Why bother? When the thing breaks down in a few years, just buy another. They don't cost that much." And he had a point. It took me a few hours to change the oil and air filter and clean out the build up of grass. Would my time be better spent with my family each fall and just buying another mower in five years? My dad's lawn mower lasted for what seemed forever. He did the annual maintenance on it and when it finally broke down he was disappointed. He expected to give it to me one day (probably to cut his grass though
). At one time, things were made to last. Now, things are made to sell.
Is this why we are running out of land fill? We keep throwing out the crap we buy. Squawkfox had a great post about crap a year ago
. One part I would like to highlight:
I look at some of the items in my parent's household, and I remember them from childhood. It's not that they are too cheap to replace them, but they still function to this day. Can we expect the things we buy today to work for our children?
My parents' television set broke down after 20 years and the salesman told them not to expect their new one to last even 10 years. "They don't make them like that anymore."
It's easy to buy crap. And sometimes we have no choice. What are you doing to buy less crap?