--

Don't shop 'til you drop

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/08/387

A critique of relentless consumerism.  Do we really need so much "stuff"?
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
April 8th, 2007 3:51pm
Did they have that saying on a t-shirt? I would just love it. It would be so cute.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 8th, 2007 4:44pm
We should all make our own.  Recycle!
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
April 8th, 2007 4:50pm
Yeah I agree with all that. People buy all this junk and then they throw it away. Another angle is that the junk is so cheap and doesn't last long like it did in the old days. I have a few kitchen appliances from the 1930s and I still use them almost every day and I never have a problem with them and they work better than anything made nowadays.

The problem might solve itself when we run out of petroleum in a few years.

But still, why everybody gotta buy so much crap?
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 8th, 2007 5:10pm
I think there is also a lack of skills in people and lack of small single person fixit shops. When was the last time you had shoes retreaded at a cobbler? Or seen a cobbler? Or bought shoes made in a non-slave factory? Well, my last cobbler went out of business around 2002 and that was that. He was a real old guy too. I still buy shoes made by fair trade labor, but that is getting pretty tricky.

Who knows how to sew anymore? Got a hole in those pants? Do you patch it or buy a new pair?
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 8th, 2007 5:14pm
I think allen edmonds are still made in the US.  Can't think of anything else.  What brands are "fair trade"?
Permalink NYC Joser 
April 8th, 2007 5:19pm
I had some nice cobbler the other day. Ala mode. Delicious.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 8th, 2007 5:29pm
dear son,

you are not funnny.
Permalink NYC Joser 
April 8th, 2007 9:29pm
Naw, it was good.

The reason cobblers and fix-it shops have disappeared is that  ... people's time is just worth more than it used to.

We should be grateful for that. To not be so materialistic to think a pair of shoes is worth more than a couple hours' time of someone's precious life to fix them.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 8th, 2007 10:02pm
That's pretty much completely off base. The people making shoes are paid less than $2 a day. These people are the ones whose labor has replaced the cobblers. If you valued people's labor having value, why switch from a cobbler making $5 an hour to a indentured slave making $2 a day?
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 9th, 2007 12:02am
Um, no, I'm talking about fixing your shoes. How many people in your neighborhood could afford to work for $5 a day? No one (they would rather go on welfare which pays better). We values other people's time more (ie, people force us to pay them more per hour of work).

The whole $1 a day business is completely tangential. There are fewer people percentage-wise living today on $1 a day than ____ decades ago (fill in however long ago the Garden of Eden with cobblers on every corner existed).

Whether this is good or not depends on whether one believes that materials and functions -- shoes and cobblery -- take precedence (ie, more people in poverty) or one where people, independent of production, do (ie, fewer in poverty).
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 9th, 2007 12:44am
Perhaps I misunderstood your point of view. Is not yours that rather than get shoes fixed by local sustainable labor, one should just buy new ones made by slave labor overseas because that is cheaper to make them there and ship them using petroleum rather than to fix them?
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 9th, 2007 1:01am
> you are not funnny.

I may not be funny, but misspelling a dis is quite funny.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 9th, 2007 1:53am
"When was the last time you had shoes retreaded at a cobbler?"

well, actually, about a month back. Two good pairs that I had not worn in maybe a year or two. They're both great now.

I was about to post a rant about Henry Ford and planned obsolescence, then I found this :

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/fordpart.asp

so maybe it wasn't him then.

Personally, I'm almost never an "early adopter". (I'm tempted by the new i-paper based pdf readers that are around.) I hate chucking things away. Even so, the pace of development in electronics and computing has made it kind of inevitable. I chucked a 68k Mac a while ago that was so well engineered it would have run for another 100 years, but it was nevertheless not worth the desk space any more.

There are really two problems - the pace of advance in technology, and cheap crap. It's unlikely that we'll solve either before we are forced to change.
Permalink $-- 
April 9th, 2007 5:46am
> Perhaps I misunderstood your point of view....

And yours is that we should either force local slave labor to work for less or artificially have price controls on shoe repair?

I don't mind some extra-market price inflation in order to solidify a society's values. I like the fact that there are government grants and tax benefits to poets and biologists and their sponsors. It means my society values their contribution above market value. I just don't think my society should value shoes so highly that it needs legislature to promote cobblers (or sugar farmers, either).

I'm still waiting for the answer to when was this Golden Age of Cobblerdom, when shoes were both awesome in quality (as late as the 1850's there was no difference between left and right shoes) and fixable locally for less than their cost.

(Obviously it makes sense to retread expensive dressy shoes. How many retread their sneakers or DocMartens though?)
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 9th, 2007 12:06pm
You can only fix shoes if the soles are sewn to the top instead of being glued.

And you can sure have fun peeling the soles of new shoes in the shop to see whether they are stitched as the vendor claims (probably genuinely, since the Italians, who are the most notorious cheats in this area, commonly put false thread marks in soles that are glued on only).

And of course trainers or loafers have the soles moulded; it's only with leather soles that you can get them sewn.

Spanish shoes sold in Spain must state on the label the composition of the various parts of the shoe, and how they are joined together. This does not apply to exports however.

If you are in the US Sebago classic shoes are sewn (you can choose between machine sewn and hand sewn). You still need somebody to nail on the replacement sole and heels though (I doubt if you'll find anybody prepared to sew them on).
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
April 9th, 2007 1:13pm
Nails are not 'airport screening' safe. Sigh.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 9th, 2007 1:18pm
You just take the shoes off and send them through the machine.

I hadn't thought of nails. I thought it was some kind of claymore shoe bomb they were afraid of!
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
April 9th, 2007 7:08pm
"And yours is that we should either force local slave labor to work for less or artificially have price controls on shoe repair?"

Ah, that's just an idiotic strawman attempt. You're not worth the trouble since your post is not serious, you're just being an ass for the thrill it gives you to be one. Please carry on, don't let me interrupt you any more.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 9th, 2007 9:00pm
It wasn't a strawman argument as I was merely guessing at what choices you were describing. If you don't want people to resort to guessing have a coherent line of discussion yourself.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 10th, 2007 10:45am

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