Sometimes, you just look around your house and see too much of the same old, same old; whatever it is, you just know you want something new in your life.
Retail therapy can feel so good even when normally it’s bad.
By Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
Sometimes it just feels nice to have new things. The unmarked plastic of new electronics or the shine of clean and unsullied metal is exciting. Maybe the week has been disappointing or you just got paid. Sometimes, you just look around your house and see too much of the same old, same old; whatever it is, you just know you want something new in your life.
You yearn for the excitement and honeymoon phase of new acquisition and in comes our old friend consumerism in the form of retail therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I too have fallen for the “new toys means happiness” trap, but I have realized that sometimes the cheapest things can bring the most joy. There’s nothing like scouring thrift shops and discount barns for whatever little thing you might actually need, or haggling with someone on craigslist for that new toy or consumable you want. Even just browsing through old bookstores without the intention of buying can be fun. In a way, I think I have gotten nearly as much satisfaction from a used dishrack that I purchased as I have from my nice, big 4k TV.
Maybe the goal should be for us to enjoy alternate and more sustainable forms of consumption yet reduce the amount of consumption we actually end up doing. Our future might just be community swap meets and online bargaining. That’s certainly better for the environment and almost a guaranteed boon for communities. As a matter of fact, every time I look around my house almost all of my shiny new toys are at one time new-to-me items. I might just be at the forefront of the curve.
I guess there is a decent amount of joy to be had in the simple and secondhand things in life. Maybe frugality is its own joy as we transition to a (hopefully) less consumption-based future. In this way, we can crank up the reduce, reuse recycle vision across our whole lives and not just in a few narrow aspects.
Then again, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. People have been thrifting for a very long time and I’m certainly not the first to talk about it in the pages of the Other Press. Still, it is an idea worth discussing, even if it is an old one.