Oftentimes when we think about shopping more thoughtfully or ethically or fair trade or organic or what-have-you, it quickly becomes overwhelming (But my shorts are from Bangladesh! My phone was made by who knows who in some factory in China! What can I do?! I like shopping! I’m on a budget! Baahhhhh!). Sound familiar? Or is it just me…
I’ll be honest – the response I often have when I feel paralyzed by the massive, systematic problems tied up in EVERYTHING is something like: “I’m just not going to think much about this, because it’s too much! But I definitely need to give some money to a charity somewhere…”
In the face of this totally unhelpful all-or-nothing paralysis, I’ve been trying something out. Trying to get down to the very basics of what and where I am spending my money. Namely:
Do I really want to give you my money?
On Sunday night, we tackled the insane: taking our 5-, 3-, & almost 1-year old kids with us to a professional hockey game. We were given free tickets to the game by a Calgary Flames rep at an open venue practice on Saturday, so we packed everyone up with low expectations and headed down to their arena, dubbed the Saddledome.
Photo credit: GEC Architecture
For me, there is something very appealing about the tap beer at the Saddledome. Don’t ask me why; it’s watery and flat-ish… it’s really not good. But when I’m there, I want one. When I was pregnant with my first daughter and went to games more often, it was all I could do not to have one!
But then I see the $8.50 price tag, and I think,
It sounds good to me, but just not that good.
Here, on the other hand, is a picture of me in 2007 at Yankee Stadium eating a $5 hot dog:
A FIVE dollar hot dog! Absurd, right? I’m pretty sure there was a $10 beer at my feet, too. Complete extortion, right?!
Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Am I a sucker? Maybe. But, really, I don’t think I’m any different from any of us. How we think about our money is not always logical, and it will always be subjective.
But if we even begin to think about the where and the whatof our purchases, the why and the whether-or-not will begin to surface as well. And we will be well on our way to shopping good.
What is something you have purchased with an unreasonable price tag which was totally worth it to you?
This dignify post draws from Derek Thompson's October 7th article in The Atlantic.
Thompson's article explains the practical challenges in 2021 for consumers as well as for retailers.
Here's how some of these points relate to dignify right now and in the coming months:
Mystery novels have often appealed to people with jobs that are never fully resolved (doctors, pastors, social workers). In this cultural era of many-problems-few-resolutions, reading a good mystery can be a refreshing break.
Our 12-year old daughter is the most avid, prolific reader I know! We teamed up to create a list of mysteries for all ages of independent readers. The recos below are listed with increasing age levels in mind, but no specific age parameters (as a mature, well-read, near-teen, she has read up to Agatha Christie on this list).
Our 11-year old computer is showing creaky signs of age, just about ready to go to sleep (and never wake up). But, we feel that it has served us well. When I compare it to other expenses over the years, the laptop is — at about a $100/year investment — one of our best value-for-dollar belongings.
When shopping for items like this, how do we choose well? How do we discern what brand/style/variety is built to last? Or, how do we determine even if “built to last” is relevant to the purchase?