Tuesday, 4 September 2012

I Pay the Price (A dummy spit)

Today I feel like throwing my hands in the air and just giving up through sheer frustration.  Our printer has broken down after only four years.  We all know companies deliberately make products to become obsolete so that we need to buy again.  What a disgrace!  GREED!

We decided ages ago to buy from companies who made things to last, and we are prepared to pay more to find these lasting, quality goods.  Four years ago (is it a universal decision to make things last four years?) we bought a (HA HA!) quality brush cutter from a well known company who make orange tools, for this very reason.  Well six months ago it broke down.  We were told it was our own fault for leaving petrol in the tank which corroded all the parts.  What!  We've always left petrol in our whipper snippers and this never used to happen.  They use cheap plastic components now.  My father's whipper snipper is over thirty years old.

So if my plan to pay more for only the best has backfired what do I do?!  We thought we were buying the best, but this company have used obsolescence as part of their marketing strategy too.

There's only one reason that this goes on.... GREED!  No, not just the company but the consumer also.  They want everything to be cheap!  They want to own bucket loads of stuff - more than they actually need. Though possibly I could give the consumer some slack and admit on their part it may be ignorance.

It happens with food, clothing etc. too.  You hear people complaining about how overpriced the meat and veg are at farmer's markets, they say organic food is too expensive and you couldn't afford to live like that. And they buy from major supermarkets who are taking advantage of people to be able to offer lower prices.   Hey!  We are a family of five living on one income!  Yes we weigh up prices but in general if it's ethical, we buy it.  So... why don't they pay more and eat less, eat more simply.  It won't kill them, in fact quite the opposite, it will improve their health.  We might fix the obesity crisis while we're at it if we buy less greedily!

How often do you hear people bragging about the T-shirt they bought for the bargain price of three dollars! Really?  Bragging?!  They should be hanging their heads in shame.  Great - their kid got a T-shirt, but it was probably made by a man who didn't get paid a fair wage and his kid is probably starving!

So do I want to work harder than those around me and make do with less and less?  Do I find finances easy on our one income?  Am I a stupid hippy who's on some organic health kick?

NO!  Every time I buy organic, I know the patch of land my product came from is being looked after and the land is being improved (while others degrade land coz it's easier for them).  Every time I buy second hand I know I am saving waste (while others shop for recreation).  Every time jobs are left undone at home because I'm time poor from cooking so much, I know that I'm saving packaging (while others buy packaged so they can enjoy ease of life).  Every time I pay more for a fairtrade product, I know that I am ensuring others aren't abused for my purposes (while other's encourage child slavery coz they like cheap chocolate).

Hard not to feel resentful sometimes, and today is one of those times!  Why can't we work together to live in a thoughtful and less greedy way?  Work together to protect people around us and look after the world for our children?  Instead, I 'pay the price' while others have it easy.

Now I'm certainly not saying we're perfect.  We're not getting everything right but we're trying and yes I'm on my high horse and proud of it!  More people should own organic, fair trade high horses!!!

I know most of my readers are living a similar lifestyle to ours.  Do you sometimes get frustrated with The Mob?  Are you 'paying the price' too?!


Anonymous said...

Hear hear!
If only others would think a bit more about the big picture. We are also living off one income and we make decisions based on our ethos. It's all about priorities. We'd rather eat chicken less often so we can afford to by free range or organic. I get particularly annoyed at people who smoke but can't afford to buy decent food for their family. It's crazy.
And this disposable lifestyle where products are expected to have a short life span...grrr, best not get me started on that one.
Good on you for doing what is right. Shame the so called better quality products have let you down.

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Oh Linda you are so right. Peoples need for immediate gratification is beyond belief. And the things they think they need and not even close to being needs.

Kim said...

Yes, I understand completely. We started buying from companies that make things that last even if it takes longer to save for it. Miele for example is a great company that makes quality products that stand up to the punishment I dish out.
And yes my house is messy after cooking fresh pasta all day and fresh cakes for morning tea. So glad you are doing it all along with me.

Crunchie's Mum said...

We try and buy quality and I would also recommend miele. Their stuff works and lasts. We have garden tools that are orange so I would guess its the same manufacturer. They are now nearly 20 years old and have seen a lot of relatively trouble free use.

purplepear said...

I agree with everything you say.And sure I get fustrated and angry and then I remember the words of Ro Morrow telling me that after being asked why she bothers and if really what she does makes any difference, she said, that it made a difference to her and that on her death bed she would be able to say that she did all she could to make a difference. Keep up the great work that you do and set the example for everyone else.That;s what we do and I know we have had a positive impact on many but there's still a lot who can't or won't change!

farmer_liz said...

very well said, and sometimes even though you want to buy good quality, you can't even get it anymore! (We have also had trouble with our new orange W/S and chainsaw, but the 30 yr old ones bought second hand and from the same brand go first time every time!). Keep doing what you're doing and know there are lots of people out there who are trying to do the same too, maybe we will be the majority one day.... I'm going to put this post on my facebook page, I think everyone should read it!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one. In 1971 my grandfather purchased his first and only toaster oven. I have bought several, before I finally gave up. None worked well and broke down quickly, they couldn't even properly toast bread! His was still working well when he passed away in 2002.

Oh and that $3. T-shirt was probably made by the kid, not his father. I can't stomach thinking I am wearing or gifting something that was made by possibly a small child who has lost his/her childhood to work in despicable conditions so we can have something cheap.

Keep on trying, just like many of us are.

Busy mum of 3 said...

Linda you are not alone. I agree with absolutely everything you have said.

At times I get so upset by the senseless consumerism that surrounds me, and the problems in the world that result from our western greed and dominance that I really do start to get a type of depression/sadness/ and anxiety. It's taken me a long time to reign those feelings in. The only way I can get back on track is to remind myself that I am doing what I can, and that I am very proudly NOT one of the mob. As are you and all the other simple living bloggers out there.

But GOD it's good to vent it sometimes, good on you.

Linn said...

I absolutely agree with you Linda! My husband used to be an electrical fitter and part of their job was to repair small appliancesbut then along came the cheap imports and people didn't want to pay to have things fixed anymore.

Glad to hear from others that Miele is a good product as we have just purchased one of their washing machines.

I also get by frustrated that I can't buy many local produce. Seems that all our local farms are now growing for some corporation s before they would grow many different types of veges and now all they grow is lettuce! Looks like Coles and woollies ad winning!

Lucky we have the Internet to meet others who share the same philosophies in life otherwise I don 't think anyone could go it alone.

Linda said...

Hi Sarah, Yes, we think the same way. We eat less of certain things and find we enjoy them even more when we do have them, because they're not taken for granted.

Thanks Fiona, You're right. The word 'need' is overused.

Kim, thanks for the tip on Miele. I'm going to look into the brand. And it's lovely to know others are doing what we are.

Hi Crunchie's Mum, Another recommendation for Miele. I must find out more. As for the orange, the old ones were great!

Kate, wise words from Rosemary! I know it's worth it. I just get grumpy sometimes.

Thanks Liz, Hubby has a twelve year old saw that is brilliant! But the new stuff is not made the same. Interesting to hear that you have had problems too.

Lois, What a toaster! I wish we could buy products like that now. I reckon I'd pay double at least if I knew it wouldn't end up on the tip. And do they think we're stupid! That we don't know see the lack of quality? I won't be buying from them again.

Busy Mum, I know what you mean about the effect it has on you. It's hard not to get down about it. And you so get it! I loved venting!

It's tough isn't it Linn. People are suckered by price. Then it's too late. The larger companies have to compete by reducing their costs. Hence an inferior whipper snipper. And I know how hard it is to find only local sources. I would love to never have to step foot into the big supermarkets, but sadly I'm there too often.

And to all of you, I'm so glad to have others living a similar lifestyle to share and talk with!