Sunday, October 03, 2010

October: buy nothing new

The challenge from the Salvos: don't buy anything new (apart from essentials) in October. Buy secondhand, barter, swap, loan or do without and make your own fun.

My birthday is in October, but I still support this idea. No need to multiply the amount of stuff in the world. No need to go deeper into debt. No need to seek meaning and fulfillment in a shopping trip. Buy nothing new in October.

Or anytime, really.*
*As much as possible.

6 comments:

jessica smith said...

Glad you feel this way, I've already got plans to frequent some op shops for your birthday. It's hard to get the whisky second hand though... but maybe that's in the food category and so it's exempt?

mencanbeabusedtoo said...

Lol! This is my current lifestyle...

Its amazing what people throw out.. for council pick ups plant pots, wheel barrows,tools, timber etc.

byron smith said...

mencanbeabusedtoo - Yes, we are trying to do this more and more ourselves. I think if people try it out for a month, they may find that it is better than they thought.

Jess - Some may argue that whisky is an essential. Others, that it is second-hand barley...

meredith said...

repairing might be necessary too.

i once read about a family that tried this for a year - and found it hardest when the kids got invited to birthday parties but couldn't buy a present, when their jeans wore out in ways that couldn't be repaired, those kinds of things.

would be interesting to know what other tihngs might be borderline *essential*. petrol for the car?

byron smith said...

Yes, good questions Meredith. Repairing is indeed important. We've been trained to throw things away at the first sign of trouble and things are often designed to be fairly easy to break and difficult to repair to force us to buy more. It is insidious.

Calling something an "essential" is of course a judgement call. Some people talk about consumables vs durables, but the distinction is largely breaking down in the built-in obsolescence I just mentioned. What is "essential" to my life is an important question for all of us and may have slightly different answers in different contexts. I suspect that whether petrol is an essential good will depend on a wide variety of factors for different people. And of course, some uses might be more unnecessary than others.

byron smith said...

SMH: Clover Moore and City of Sydney council support the idea. Unsurprisingly, Premier O'Farrell doesn't.