You Matter

photo of gray sneakers

Photo by Shane Kell on

I try to be positive about life, typically if I happen upon a pile of poop, I think, “Oh look fertilizer.” However, this time, I wasn’t looking where I was walking, and I accidentally stepped into the foul mess. I soon realized it was dog poop. The brown goo clings to my shoes, and it stinks, oh Lord, does it stink. I attempt to scrub my shoes on the grass, and soon find has it only makes matters worse. It’s hopeless, the only thing I achieved was to grind the brown goop into my teeny tiny sneaker treads. My shoes reeked. I momentarily thought I should throw them out, but no, I couldn’t do that, they are practically brand new. Would you throw them out?

And on that note, have do you ever wondered why so many people make purchases on a mindless whim? You would think we should all be aware that the middle-class are being played for fools. The sad fact is that we are all contributing to pollution with our brainless buying. The big corporations have the people of North America right where they want them, a population of easily influenced customers. Massive corporations use manipulative advertising inserted into several different forms of media every hour of the day. They do it to activate the desire in people to run out and purchase the latest and greatest gadget.

The cities, with their growing populations exist as the big-box stores most valuable crop of shoppers. These sprawling megalopolis area’s contain a captive audience, in which companies plant the many seeds of need for new and exciting items. In this fertile ground, one person buys the latest advertised product that might do everything but wax your moustache. And then that brainwashed buyer returns home and promptly shows off their new purchase to a friend or neighbor. Then the covetous friend or neighbor will also buy the stupendous new gadget. Pretty soon, everyone owns the new device.

Six-months pass and now most people have lost interest in their product. The next thing you know a newfangled contraption has exploded onto the advertising sites and captured people’s attention… and their wallets. Before you know it, the secondhand stores are inundated by donations of that same fantastic plastic product that was all the rage not long ago. No one wants yesterdays glamour. These former pieces that had gripped peoples greed are now relegated to the out of sight and out of mind place, where all trashy products go. The majority of the once-popular items will be tossed into the landfill, or even into the ocean. It is the final resting place, and there, the junk retires for several hundred lifetimes before it crumbles away.

It’s not an easy thing to to do, to wake up and realize you’re being manipulated into an idea that buying stuff will bring you happiness. It takes maturity and wisdom to truly understand that happiness is an inside job. There is nothing you can buy, that will bring you joy, or satisfaction, for more than a day or two. Happiness, and more importantly, spiritual fulfillment can be attained by feeling grateful, and from expressing personal creativity, and from actively engaging with the world. A joyful existence manifests from making a conscious attempt to experience your life with a sense of love rather than desire and excess.

There’s no doubt that adjusting to a new way of buying can be challenging, but why don’t we start by supporting smaller companies where we can purchase quality products that will last. Why don’t we use our beautiful minds to consider our reasons for spending hard-earned money on something new? When you are contemplating a purchase, imagine where the new item will eventually end up if it gets broken, or worn, or despised. Where do your cast-offs go? Are they made with durable materials so someone else can enjoy them a second time around? Or are they made brittle plastic and paints that fade or chip?

I met a man a while back, and we were discussing recycling, “Yeah,” he said with a wave of his hand. “I used to recycle everything. Then I watched a documentary on garbage and pollution.” He paused, and his face tightened as he shook his head. “We are so screwed. The way I see it, it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m not wasting my time recycling.” Wow! My jaw dropped, I looked like I took too many benzos. Now, I’ll admit it won’t be a straightforward event to clean up a planet, but how about we try. Don’t be the guy who gives up and waves his white plastic flag shouting, “I surrender.”

The middle-class people are the prime target market for big companies because the middle-class people make up the largest group of consumers. You matter. We support the Billionaires whose supper, cost more than the average monthly mortgage payment. So, that being said, consider the idea that it is actually you, and I, and all the other middle-class folks that can create the change for quality products by refusing to buy crap. You matter, you are not invisible.  Corporations, in general, don’t look at anything else but the number of items sold, positive digits in the form of profit. Therefore, if the masses decide to buy quality over quantity, the change for more durable products has to happen. We, the citizens of the extensive middle-class, can make an enormous difference. You matter. As an individual, you have the final say on how you spend your cash. The choices we make together as consumers will have an impact on our kids, our neighbours kids, and all the future generations.

Stepping in dog crap can be a nasty experience, especially if it’s a monumental turd from a Great Dane. The initial thought after stumbling into a mound of feces might be to toss your shoes into the nearest garbage bin, out of sight and out of mind. But is that truly the answer? What if everyone took the easy way out? If the shoes are quality, a person could simply drop the putrid footwear into a sink of warm soapy water, snap on a pair of rubber gloves, and scrub the shoes clean.