Hi Team,

Okay; time to confess that I don't always practice what I preach!

Some of you know that Maryanne and I are in the middle of doing some minor renovations to our beach house in Shoreham. We built this house 17 years ago on a fairly tight budget and after selling our St Kilda house earlier this year we decided to do some upgrades/improvements down at Shoreham. However, a major part of this reno is pulling out and disposing of a perfectly good (but slightly dated) kitchen & pantry and replacing it with a more up-to-date designer kitchen, which would seem to go completely against the values I put forward in my last email!! 

"Values matter most when they are least convenient." Dante Alighieri

Last week I proposed that "fast food/fashion/furniture etc" is bad for our culture. Now maybe I'm conservative and even a bit old-fashioned, but there are very compelling arguments that support this theory. A book titled "Cheap, The High Cost of Discount Culture" by Ellen Ruppel Shell, outlines that "cheap objects resist involvement and commitment". When we purchase a cheap object we invest less time, less care, less maintenance and less value into the object and the ownership. But this is what makes this type of transaction so easy and convenient in the first place. The epitome of this is the on-line purchasing of cheap products, which we have all been swept up in and has become a big part of how we purchase and consume. It's become so dam easy and convenient to buy lots of stuff....

"The obsession with bargains and convenience is arguably the most powerful and devastating market force of our time." Ellen Ruppel Shell

Below are two paragraphs from Ruppel-Shell's book that sum up the negative force of the "discount culture" phenomenon.

"Cheap products sold at discount stores such as Target and H&M and IKEA are "cheap chic" where style fills in for whatever quality goes lacking. There is nothing sinister in this, no deliberate planned obsolescence. These objects are not designed to fall apart, nor are they crafted not to fall apart. In many cases we know this and accept it and have entered into a sort of compact. Perhaps we don't even want the object to last forever. Such voluntary obsolescence makes craftsmanship beside the point. We have grown to expect and even relish the easy birth and early death of objects.”

“Craftsmanship cements a relationship of trust between buyer and seller, worker, and employer, and expects something of both. It is about caring about the work and its application. It is what distinguishes the work of humans from the work of machines, and it is everything that IKEA and other discounters are not.”

For me the irreversible global trend towards "fast convenient consumption" is very concerning and is almost impossible to avoid. But what really scares me is that for younger generations they will grow up believing there is no other form of consumption and will know very little about the slow, well considered, long-term purchasing of goods. Thanks Mr Amazon!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this rant!
Stay safe and consume slow.

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