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To think that buying "stuff" is getting out of hand?

(443 Posts)
LunaLoveg00d Fri 30-Sep-16 15:35:10

Let me preface by saying I am not a lentil knitting vegan eco-warrior. I buy stuff, I drive, I fly abroad on holiday and we don't grow our own food.

However. Since I have had my first child - only 13 years ago - the culture of buying "stuff" seems to have boomed and I don't think it's positive. Supermarkets and other shops are full of (mainly plastic) tat which people are encouraged to buy for every festival imaginable - Valentine's, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter, New Year, Christmas, Halloween - the list is endless.

You can't just have a pumpkin lantern for Halloween any more - you have to have fairy lights, cupcake cases, scary decorations, glow in the dark skeletons, adult AND child costumes, bunting, paper chains, etc etc etc. And nearly everything sold is poor quality or designed to be used once or twice and thrown away.

Clothing is the same - chains like the supermarkets, Primark, New Look or H&M are all about churning out clothes as cheaply as possible, designed to be worn for a few weeks or months and then chucked.

It's just all so wasteful and crazy. We are filling up landfills at a rate of knots with all of our plastic crap and disposable clothing and teaching our kids that celebrating festivals and special days isn't about being nice to each other or spending time making or finding a special gift, it's about buying as much "stuff" as you can as cheaply as you can and then chucking it out when you're finished.

All a bit depressing really.

AnyTheWiser Fri 30-Sep-16 15:38:38

Don't buy it. I don't.
I'd far rather have one excellent quality item than 12 rubbishy ones (so I buy something really good annually instead of once a month crappy version).

e1y1 Fri 30-Sep-16 15:42:15

It comes down to one thing only - Money.

It really is what makes the world turn, you go to work to earn money, to spend money, to go back to work to earn more.

To business, money is more important than landfills.

Tis sad, but true.

As any said, don't buy it, I don't either.

Soubriquet Fri 30-Sep-16 15:43:35

Until wages get to a decent level, people are going to buy the cheap stuff but it's all they can afford

Landoni112 Fri 30-Sep-16 15:45:38

Agree with e1y1.

We are all just bloody worker bees, working to spend money on crap.
You can resist, it's the unthinking spending which as such a waste.

LunaLoveg00d Fri 30-Sep-16 15:48:29

Yes I get that businesses want to sell things. But it's the disposable nature of the consumption. Rather than buy one jumper costing £30 which will last 5 years, people buy six jumpers for a fiver which will only last a year, chuck them in the bin at the end of the winter and so the same with a summer wardrobe.

Or people who buy all new Christmas decorations for their tree every year and chuck the old ones. They could instead decide to spend £20 or whatever their budget is on some beautiful, handcrafted decoration which is a miniature work of art and can be brought out every season but no, it's all about disposable stuff which is bought new every year.

KoalaDownUnder Fri 30-Sep-16 15:49:12

YANBU. At all.

Its completely out of control and it's depressing to think about.

Every single minor occasion is an excuse to consume more and more. Awful.

BlancheBlue Fri 30-Sep-16 15:50:48

Tbh the way Halloween is now is tacky and vulgar and pure US import - what was wrong with a bit of apple bobbing ffs.

Sugarlightly Fri 30-Sep-16 15:51:07

A £30 jumper doesn't actually last 5 years though? I like to buy clothes that fall into the £15-£50 range and I don't get more than a years wear out of most of it. To get something that lasted me 5 years of have to do some pretty serious spending

JellyBelli Fri 30-Sep-16 15:52:08

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

reallyanotherone Fri 30-Sep-16 15:53:56

There is a culture of "my kids will never go without" too. An attitude that their children deserve to have every material thing.

Many people I know justify their spending "cos it's for the kids".

sonlypuppyfat Fri 30-Sep-16 15:54:07

Thing is people don't want to wear the same thing year in year out

e1y1 Fri 30-Sep-16 15:54:52

The thing is, buying good quality every few years is great for the environment but not so good for getting people in stores every week/month or whatever.

Did you see Hugh's War on Waste on TV?

There were 2 episodes if you're interested?


EssentialHummus Fri 30-Sep-16 16:04:33

I agree with this. I try to be mindful of what I buy, otherwise it's very easy to say "Ooh, Gap has a sale on..." and spend without really thinking of what I need. I also try not to overload friends/family with kids, with tat. If I bring presents I try to choose clothes they need or toys they want, not random plastic.

It's a hard habit to break if that's what you're used to, though.

carefreeeee Fri 30-Sep-16 16:07:44

There's actually nothing wrong with the quality of a lot of the Primark and H and M stuff. I have plenty of things from there that've been worn week in week out for 2-5 years and are still in good condition. Occasionally need to mend under the armholes/sew on buttons etc but nothing major.

People just like to have new clothes and don't care at all about the planet

LunaLoveg00d Fri 30-Sep-16 16:20:21

I did see Hugh's War on Waste and it was a real eye-opener.

I also have some Primark items in my wardrobe - they are great for basics like strappy tops and I have linen trousers for them which come out each summer and are still OK. But their whole ethos is cheap and cheerful, high fashion following the latest trends which is dated a few months later. The sensible way to do things (in my opinion) would be to buy maybe one or two high fashion items from Primark or similar and mix those with your jeans/boots/cardigans/coats/shirts which you've had for years and still look OK because they're made to last.

I also think the culture of mending is dying out. People would rather chuck a shirt than replace a button or mend a hole. In the past I've changed buttons on a coat for a different look or dyed a white shirt when it started to look a bit grubby to give things a new lease of life. It's harder to buy things like sewing thread and buttons though as haberdashery stores are few and far between.

I volunteer in a charity shop and a lot of what we get is "fast fashion" clothing which is only suitable for the rag bag as it's bobbled, washed out or misshapen. More expensive stuff seems to wear better, although that might be because it's worn less frequently.

Of course many of the mindless consumers (some of whom are in my extended family) wouldn't be seen dead buying anything second hand.

bigbluebus Fri 30-Sep-16 16:22:31

We don't subscribe to the disposible tat buying in the bluebus household. It is just consumerism at its worst.

I find the other end of the scale equally as depressing. People who spend ££££'s on designer goods and get one in each colour when there are people using food banks and struggling to keep a roof over their heads. If you earn more money than you know what to do with, then why not buy something mid range and give more to charity instead of trying to impress everyone with designer shoes and handbags.

Bluepowder Fri 30-Sep-16 16:28:12

It's not always to do with the price. I have an h-and m t-shirt that has lasted for years. Having a small house and income naturally limits purchases. But we love a charity shop bargain here.
Staying away from the shops is probably the best option.

Shallishanti Fri 30-Sep-16 16:29:08

YANBU at all but it's very possible to resist
Most of my clothes come from charity shops (or if I'm pushing the boat out TK Maxx) and if people ever admire anything I always tell them it's from Oxfam or whereever- partly because I'm pleased with myself for finding it but also to spread the word that you really don't have to partake in the madness
Re the christmas tree, we now have decorations going back 20+ years and it's always a joy to unpack them and recall when we got/made them.

fakenamefornow Fri 30-Sep-16 16:35:27


I don't think it's much worse now though than it was, say, ten years ago. Agree with pp as well, nothing wrong with the quality, most of the time stuff can last years.

I have heard that we have reached 'peak stuff' now though.

Bluepowder Fri 30-Sep-16 16:36:16

Also with the quality issue there is an upper limit of how much I am prepared to spend on an item of clothing. If it is too expensive I would just worry about spilling something down it or ruining it in some way.

flopsypopsymopsy Fri 30-Sep-16 16:41:17

Not everyone buys cheap plastic tat... hmm

LucilleBluth Fri 30-Sep-16 16:46:02

Yes, I totally agree. My eldest is 15 next week, I also have a 12 yo and a 5 yo. I feel that occasions like Halloween, Christmas have got way out of hand sine my DSs were little. Now it's all panto, Santa visit, baking, days out, elf on shelf, Xmas eve hampers utter madness. Consumerism is out of control, it really is.

I was watching a Noam Chomsky documentary recently and he explained that advertising and consumerism are used to distract and dull us.....if people are engaged in a never ending quest for stuff then we don't notice what's going on around us.

thenewaveragebear1983 Fri 30-Sep-16 16:51:41

It was my dc3's first birthday yesterday. He has no concept of presents. He has all clothes and toys handed down from ds1. He doesn't want for anything. We have quite a large 'present tree' and lots of people asked what he would like- we said, genuinely, nothing. But if you do want to give (obviously granny/grandad are going to give) then please a small contribution to a wooden climbing frame that we want for our new house. So, everyone gave him either small pointless presents 'to open' and money, or just ignored us and gave him gifts. We are very grateful that people care for him, but why ask if you don't listen to the answer?! We now have lots of new plastic stuff to move house with, hardly play with, and eventually get rid of.
I totally agree about hallowe'en stuff, Easter, Christmas- the shops are all full of Christmas tat already.

gillybeanz Fri 30-Sep-16 16:53:54

You can't just have a pumpkin lantern for Halloween any more - you have to have fairy lights, cupcake cases, scary decorations, glow in the dark skeletons, adult AND child costumes, bunting, paper chains, etc etc etc. And nearly everything sold is poor quality or designed to be used once or twice and thrown away.

That's your problem OP, there's lots of us who don't get sucked in, you don't have to buy them, just walk past.

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