I’m not your “average” consumer. I routinely look for second hand bargains, I’m big on recycled furniture and I love a good roadside collection. I already buy most of our clothes second hand… so it’s pretty safe to say one of my favourite shopping expeditions is a good old fashioned car boot sale. Bo and I went up to the city this weekend to work a stall at my sisters local swap meet. Trying to sell some of our old stuff and make a bit of cash. Usually this would be the ideal time for me to go on the bargain hunt… because, you never know what you might find.
Instead it was 40 degrees at 9am and we were stuck in a sweaty, sticky underground carpark… after a 5am wake up. We made less than $20 each, after our expenses. Bo slept, sweaty and irritable in the boot of the car while disinterested shoppers balked at my apparently not low enough prices on my old stuff… It was less than pleasant. At one stage I took Bo for a walk around to attempt to entertain her, there isn’t much to do at a car boot sale than browse the stalls. So that’s exactly what we did. I saw lots of different things that I would have liked, a cast iron Japanese tea pot, a cute pair of shoes, a set of old terracotta pots for the garden, and a whole stall of funky clothes manned by a girl just my size. I could have easily spent $50 on great deals, instead I bought nothing, bar a $5 jar of locally farmed organic honey (which is fine, because food is allowed, of course)… I probably wouldn’t have even bought at all if Bo hadn’t stuck her entire hand INSIDE it already.
There was something strangely liberating about knowing that there was nothing I needed… no matter how good a bargain it was.
And something a little sad about walking away from that little teapot.
Could I have justified that teapot to myself? Sure. I do a lot of food photography. Styling is important. I don’t have a lot of good styling props. So I could probably write it off as a “work expense”… but I also know that’s bullshit… and it wasn’t for work and it was just a pretty little thing that I wanted. I already have to much stuff that I don’t use and I certainly don’t need. So I walked away.
And my arm got tired from all the patting myself on the back.
A friend of mine runs a lovely little store online called Gypsy and the Dreamer. Yesterday I was mindlessly flicking through facebook while stuck at a friends house underneath a sleeping baby… a post popped up with this gorgeous pair of Indian silk pants for a bargain. Just the site of them took my back to India and reminded me of all of the pants (and quilts, oh the quilts) I wish I had bought when I was there… They were a bargain at a twenty with postage. Support a friends business. Buy something unique and beautiful that I know I would wear constantly. I could justify it to myself, couldn’t I?.. Resist the urge to spend. Don’t buy anything new.
So I scrolled away. Knowing that those gorgeous silk pants will be someone elses… and that’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK.
Far out… for someone who is not much of a traditional consumer… I’m beginning to realise that I consume mindlessly a lot more than I am aware of. This might be more challenging than I thought.
I wonder if that teapot will still be there next year? Moreso, I wonder if I’ll still want it…