Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Story of Stuff

I'm not a big shopper, so when this time of year rolls around, and I start Christmas shopping, I suddenly become confronted by the sheer volume of stuff out there (most of which, it seems, is total crap). I also confront my own desires, which have lain dormant for most of the year, because I didn't really know there was all that stuff out there for me to lust after. And then I start to suffocate from my anxieties over the impact of all that stuff, tangling with my anxieties over the expectations of what stuff I need to provide for my children or family or friends.

Just to add to these anxieties, I wached this movie:, which is a bit long (20 minutes), but a great summary of the whole process of where our stuff comes from and where it ends up. Though I thought I already knew all of this stuff, The Story of Stuff provides some surprising statistics (for instance, do you know how many barrels of trash were filled in the whole resource extraction/manufacturing/processing/distributing chain for every barrel of trash you throw out? or what percent of consumer goods are still in use six months after purchase?) It's all enough to make the eggnog curdle in your gut.


  1. I think we are living parallel lives. I was just thinking this today. I want to start really downsizing how much we buy and own. I doubt my husband will get on board, but that doesn't mean I cannot start cutting back.

    Emily R

  2. Emily-
    My husband is totally on board, as long as he can get rid of TOYS. His stuff (like 100s of record albums)? Forget it.

  3. I'm enjoying the blog, Andrea. This post begs for your description of K-Mart merchandise,something like, "disappointed with the crappiness of the crap". I think that whenever I shop: "can't they (the other customers) see the crappiness of the crap?!". During the Christmas holiday, the Turnpike Mall was packed! The Turnpike Mall!!


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