Shopping isn’t quite the right word though. Window-shopping perhaps. There’s no money exchanging hands. It’s mostly the pleasure of going and looking. Richard Steele in The Spectator in 1712 had a great description of women who shop or ‘silk-worms:’
…it was a cant among the hackney fraternity for their best customers, women who ramble twice or thrice a week from shop to shop, to turn over all the goods in town without buying anything. The silk-worms are, it seems, indulged by the tradesmen; for, though they never buy, they are ever talking of new silks, laces, and ribbons, and serve the owners in getting them customers, as their common dunners do in making them pay.
But this year, I’m eschewing even that proud tradition. Until I can replace my 16-year old Suzuki, I can’t be near temptation. All those mail order catalogs – artsy, design, or exotic import – go straight to recycling. My brothers, who never quite developed an appreciation for museum tschotske, are probably relieved.
Not buying is becoming a point of pride now. Call it voluntary simplicity, minimalism, or down-sizing, there’s a lot to be said for not having extra cluttering up your life. Before my 1st cross-country move, I hauled 8 loads to Goodwill. I thought I’d mastered not buying extra until my 2nd cross-country move when I realized I had a tub of decorations for every holiday. When I bought my house, I vowed I’d use everything I owned!
Now, my motives are not as pure as Thoreau. It’s not so much that I want to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life” as I’m getting more particular as money gets tighter. I’ve done enough shopping that I notice when the package shrinks or the price rounds up. Turns out I can give up cookies!
I’m also trying to reduce my fossil fuel consumption. Governments and big business might debate global warming, but the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and last month’s Philippines typhoon were pretty much all the wake up call I needed. I live in Florida – we don’t have higher ground.
So a change is in order. What exactly I’m still figuring out. Definitely shopping local and handmade – see the beautiful jewelry my friend makes under the Contest tab above. What I do know is that we’re very fortunate to have a wealth of goods to choose from in the US. We don’t have to get hung up on owning every little thing. So since we can pick and choose, make your choice count!