The Paradox of More Bang for the Buck

I am almost sick of hearing the phrase “in these economic times…,” but here goes.  We’re in a recession — some fear a nearing depression.  The true unemployment figure (when accounting for underemployment) is at 14%.  When times are tough, you would hope that people become more mindful of their purchasing decissions.  But what does that mean? 

Of course daytime TV and Madison Avenue ring the recession bell and give all kinds of advice about what bargains to buy.  But what is the way to get bang for the buck and get the country out of its funk?   Is this the excuse people need to buy everything at Walmart and screw the supply-chain consequences?  Or is this the time when people look beyond the first price tag they see and buy the products that were produced locally, with fair labor standards and protection for the environment?

I know this may come off as smug and preachy.  I just wish there was a more fair way to show the true cost of “bargains.”  And it’s not like I’ve been perfect about this … I’ve already confessed about my recent Costco misadventure.  But how do we get people who feel like they are suffering now, to make decissions that seem more expensive, or even luxurious by some standards.

Maybe if we changed our mindset, bought less, but bought quality, it would be the solution.  You keep more of the dollars within your community — you get things fixed when possible, thereby employing local craftsment.  You go to the community theatre rather than buy a video game made in Korea.  You go out to eat once a week, instead of twice, and support a non-chain local establishment. 

If every purchasing decission was a mindful one where we considered what impact it had on the local community (and world), could that be what it takes to get us out of this recession?


1 Comment

  1. Theresa said,

    March 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I just think there is overall so much over-consumption these days. There’s something to be said for frugality, for people at all income levels. And I don’t know, I kind of enjoy being frugal – it makes me appreciate things more.

    As far as buying local and trying to sustain a local supply chain, etc, I am with you. However, I think that most people are just really short-sighted…I don’t know how to change this.

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