I just finished reading another book. And being very topical for this G20 summit in town, it’s called Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine.
It’s an interesting read specifically because it was published in 2006 bang in the middle of our consumer rush. Reading it now, in our credit crunch, is like watching a Ferrari fly by you at 350 miles per hour, knowing there’s a 100-car pile-up ahead.
I must say I picked it up feeling slightly smug. I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a miser: My gifts tend to be small. I make fun of my husband’s wide range of shoes for every subtle change of terrain. ( I shouldn’t, he’s a much better gift-giver than I am). My poor children are still riding first bikes so small their knees touch their ears.
I once even tried a moratorium on shopping: I forbid my family to buy anything for six months.
I don’t think we lasted two hours.
Turns out, I burn money like Shell drills oil. We always seem to need something: more underwear, a zebra patterned swimsuit, art books, children shoes, a piano book, endless birthday presents, peppermint scrub shower gel.
And yes, I did desperately need that Boden flippy spring skirt in that enticing shade of peach.
But Judith Levine and her significant other, Paul, have showed me the way. You can live without buying most things. So I’m going to start. I’m going to impose a serious, no-buy-except-for-food-and-real-necessities-ban. (OK, maybe new bikes).
After our trip to the US.
photo by reebob (flickr)