Monday, January 08, 2007

A Shopping Sabbatical

Check out this article about a group who compacted not to buy anything new (food, toiletries and underwear exempted) for a year.
Besides thrift stores and garage sales, participants found a wealth of free or previously owned merchandise in online classifieds and sites where people post stuff they want to get rid of, such as http://www.freecycle.org and http://www.garbagescout.com.

After going through an initial period of retail withdrawal, discovering just how easy it was to score pretty much anything with a little time and effort was an eye-opener, according to participants.

Rachel Kesel, 26, who works as a dog walker, said she was astonished by how often the items she needed simply materialized — the friend who offered a bicycle seat when hers was stolen, the Apple store employees who fixed her laptop at no cost.

Similarly fortuitous timing happened often enough that group members came up with a name for it — "Compact Karma."

This is fascinating to me, because I have experienced the same thing. Something I thought about buying, but didn't, will often turn up for next to nothing at a garage sale or resale shop.

Once, when my two oldest boys were little, they were begging for Batman and Superman costumes for dress-up. At Party City, those costumes were $26 each. Neither boy had a birthday coming up, and I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much money. Weeks went by, and one Saturday morning, I pulled up at a garage sale and there, hanging from track of the garage door, were a Batman and a Superman costume--in the exact sizes of my boys!

The Lord--or Karma? (Maybe the anti-consumerist mentality is dearer to the Lord's heart than most Americans would guess!)
"One of the byproducts of The Compact has been I have a completely different relationship with the things in my life. I appreciate the stuff I have more," [a participant] said.

Related article here--one I happened to bookmark a year ago about the same group.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read a book called "I'm not buying it" written by a lady who went a year without purchasing anything that wasn't necessary. It was very interesting and I am glad to see thrift and going-without becoming a sort of trend!

Cool Mama said...

You gotta love the different unique ways God is getting the idea thru to us, that HE is our provision, and if we'd just stop providing ( via debt of course) for ourselves, He would send what we need..and want! I'm being challenged about this too. I REALLY need a decent haircut before a big Pastor's and Leaders conference, and I realised, I could go to the HairDressing School and get the same cut for 1/2 price....so away I go! Saving money, and praying for a good cut!

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