Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Distinguishing "WANTS" & "NEEDS"

"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..."
-William Wordsworth

Yesterday Paige and I left the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale empty handed. Probably a combination of not feeling in the "shopping mood" and not being impressed with the featured items on sale. But later on our shopping excursion we bought sheets for her bed at college which was a "need." And a fabric covered "K" at Anthropologie which was definitely a "want." Could anything at Anthropologie be classified as a "need?"

I was thinking about shopping (that Great American Pastime) and how we spend WAY TOO MUCH time doing it and purchase WAY MORE THAN WE NEED (or want). In his essay "My Wood," E. M. Forster wrote that possessions made him feel heavy, weighed down. "The Gospels," Forster reflected, "point out what is perfectly obvious, yet seldom realized. If you have a lot of things you cannot move about a lot, that furniture requires dusting, dusters require servants, servants require insurance stamps, and the whole tangle of them makes you think twice before you accept an invitation to dinner or go for a bathe in the Jordan."

One of the great ironies to me is all the time we spend shopping and getting, filling up our homes and closets and then, down the road the same "stuff" gets packed into bags for the Goodwill! I readily confess that I am one of the culprits in this possession-obsessed culture! But I'm hoping to be a more Thoughtful Consumer by at least Questioning whether purchases are something I really NEED or just something I simply WANT!