Leafing through the Sunday papers I realised how much stuff there was for sale. The supplements were filled with seemingly endless adverts for trinkets, doodads and labour saving devices. Behind each advert was a company, trying to make its way by selling its products. I have no doubt that displaying their wares in such weighty tomes offered a good return on their investment yet I was left bewildered.
I scanned each page, noting the huge variety of goods on offer yet found nothing of interest. Instead I was left with an empty feeling when I realised that there was nothing I wanted nor needed.
Throughout most of my life, Christmas time has been the period where we would worship the religion of consumerism, praying in the temples of Mammon that the vacuous gifts we had convinced ourselves we needed were still within our grasp. Yet now the high street struggles, shopping malls lie half empty and our addictions are met by brown parcels delivered to our door.
Since COVID, something has happened, perhaps just to me though I suspect to many others as well. I no longer feel the need to buy things. My lust to consume seems satiated. Other’s excess leaves me feeling nauseous. Issues around global warming and climate change also play their part as well and I question whether consumerism can survive.
I know that the two most confused words in the English language are want and need but I try only to buy things that I genuinely need. Those things I want, I question myself over and over again whether I am really going to use them. . When I do buy clothes, which has become a rare thing, I have a rule that for everything that comes in one has to go out.
Of course I will continue to buy gifts for Christmas but I am going to try and focus on things that are genuinely useful. The girls (who are now women) have given us their lists and these are mostly utensils or replacements. As for me, something nice to eat or a book would suffice.
My mantra is buy less and pay more.