The Story of Stuff

moneyIn Fight Club, a most excellent movie I've seen dozens of time, Tyler Durden says "The things you own end up owning you." At this time of year, we all go into zombie mode and accumulate stuff. We're not buying stuff for ourselves necessarily, at least not directly, but we're buying stuff for others and we feel obligated to do so.

I used to own a great deal more stuff than I do now. I went through a minimalistic period in which I started giving stuff away and throwing stuff out. I still have stuff, like an MP3 player, digital camera, and other entertainment-"necessities", but there's very little I need.

Alexi, hockey-poolie and future neighbour, encouraged me to visit The Story of Stuff. "That hippie has opened my eyes", he wrote. "I'll never buy anything again... I'm gonna go punch some industrialists in the face".

It's a whopping 20 minutes, but it's got great animation and it's truly eye opening. We're all about consumption in this culture. Do we really need to consume this much? How do we stop this vicious cycle?

Watch The Story of Stuff and get back here and give me answers. It's American-centric, but it applies here in the Great White North as well. Don't sugar coat it, I want the truth.


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Comments (7 - click here to join in!)

Jason | GetYouOJ.com

I think we've inevitably reached the opint of noe return when it comes to consumer culture.

December 13, 2007 @ 12:19 PM

Andrew

For once I agree with Jason. There would have to be a big catalyst to bring a change of that magnitude to the western world.

December 13, 2007 @ 12:50 PM

Alison

Pretty sad that this time of year is consumed with buying stuff for other people that they may not even want or need and we get in return even more stuff we don't want or need...I'm in the middle of my annual "kid stuff in the basement" purge before the kids come home from Christmas holidays with all their new stuff...I'm getting rid of as much of the old stuff as I can talk them out of...Don't know what I dislike more the shopping or facing the basement?

A

December 13, 2007 @ 1:08 PM

Toronto Mike

I've been flirting with an idea. Not for this Christmas, but for next Christmas. It's still perculating, but the premise is fairly simple.

It's a "no-buy, no-receive" policy that we, as individuals, promote. It requires one inform all of their friends and loved ones what they're doing in advance. Essentially, you're not buying holiday gifts - and you don't want to receive holiday gifts. You can do things for people, and should do things for people, and you should spend time with those you care about and spread good cheer, but you don't buy them stuff.

When you're in the "no-buy, no-receive" program, you may influence others to try something similar. Heck, if you can do it, so can others. You still take care of the kids, Santa still comes, but adults get nothing. If they want to get you something, ask them to donate a little coin to your favourite charity or to sponsor your Terry Fox run or something like that.

"No-buy, no-receive"... I'm seriously considering making such a statement in 2008, and if I do, you can read how it all works out right here.

December 13, 2007 @ 1:30 PM

Alison

I support you!!!! I have been hinting/talking about/soon to be begging for this for all the gownups in my life...I say Christmas gifts are for kids and adult generosity should be aimed at time together and supporting charity.

December 13, 2007 @ 4:40 PM

Andrew

I am always in a "no recieve" program. I ask people who would buy for me to skip me. However, I will buy things for random people that I know (and of course my two boys). I love giving gifts but they usually aren't a real "consumer" item but odd little things. For example, I bought a Issue #1 of Groo the Wanderer for a friend that likes comics. She'll never see it coming and I don't want anything in return. I saw it and thought she'd like it.
I don't know..is this any different?

December 14, 2007 @ 7:59 AM

AC@44

Nice find, it grabs everything you already know and puts it into one place .. making you think about it as a whole.

December 14, 2007 @ 11:31 AM

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