Saturday, February 14, 2009

Help - I'm Sinking!

I zoned out last night on the cleaning products aisle at the grocery store. A gentleman passed me, turned around and, laughing, said, "Shopping for some weekend fun?" In truth, I was just looking for a sponge. A plain old workhorse-of the-kitchen, sponge. Not the "nail friendly" version, or the "scratch safe" variety, or the "stove top specialist"...just a sponge. Honestly, I spent an entire five minutes crouched before the sponges, mostly suppressing my urge to stand up and scream "Why do we have so many choices?!!??" Have you looked at the toothpaste aisle lately? I counted one day, and there were 116 choices for toothpaste at my neighborhood supermarket. I am not making that up. Do you want something for a whiter smile, healthier gums, fresher breath...would you like it in gel, paste, pump or powder? Small, medium, large, extra large or travel sized? Aaaaaack. And the bar soaps - oh my! I bought one a couple of weeks ago with a "scent caps system" which apparently releases a clean smell on the body throughout the day. I bought it just to prove to my husband that shopping for household necessities these days is harder than he thinks it is. I mean, who knew I needed my soap to explode in waves of freshness throughout the day? I'm thinking of taking a tip from writer Tom Hodgkinson, author of The Freedom Manifesto...he says he tries not to buy anything beyond beer, bacon, and books. He also says the billions in bank bailout money would have been better spent giving everyone in the world an acre of land:
With an acre of land, a family of five or six can provide a huge amount of their food needs. You can keep animals and grow fruit and vegetables. This was the thinking behind Distributism, a political idea of the 1920s put about by Catholic intellectuals such as G. K. Chesterton. They saw a return to a medieval-style system where families combined smallholding with another source of income. Smallholding is enjoyable, useful, reconnects you with nature, is therapeutic, keeps you fit and healthy and is enormously satisfying.
Hodgkinson also believes we should all stop being such consumers, and start thinking about becoming producers. Make your own jam, he says...and bread and clothes. And grow stuff - even if you don't get an acre of land in the bailout. I know this is counter productive thinking in an economy that needs more spending to stay afloat. But, really - 116 choices for toothpaste? When there are people among us who can't afford to see a dentist? Soap with "scent caps" when much of the world doesn't even have clean water? Two dozen varieties of sponges - all of which ultimately end up becoming part of the 5 pounds/day of trash each American creates? Make life simpler. Do it one choice at a time - even if that choice is just to roll on past the sponges and go back to a washable cloth for sink scrubbing. It's my own personal bailout. Conscious consumerism. How 'bout it? Peace. PS - Thanks to GOOD for making the toothpaste selecting a more conscious experience! Check it out.

1 comment:

Mama de la Paz said...

PS - Buy Aquafresh!

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