Put That Down
Have you ever looked around and thought to yourself "self, you have a lot of crap you just don't need?" Well I'm here today to tell you that you're absolutely right. You DO have a lot of crap that you just don't need. And the reason you have all that crap is that you've been conditioned your entire life to think that you need it after all. It's a good thing for you I'm here to un-brainwash you.
Now I'm not saying you shouldn't have nice things. I have plenty of nice things, and they don't make me any worse of a person. But there's a huge difference between having nice things because you want them, and having nice things because you think you need them. This is where the brainwashing comes in. Let me start with what I think is the biggest offender: High Definition viewing.
There are two sides to this, and I'll handle them individually. First, there's HDTV. Basically it's TV with more detail than "standard def," because there are more dots per inch. You know what, just look at the image below, which I've created to illustrate the difference between HD and regular TV.
Yes, the picture on the right is clearer. But here's the thing: nobody needs high definition TV. Hell, in order to even watch it you have to shell out over a thousand dollars for a TV worth viewing it on, and then pay for a more expensive cable (or satellite, or whatever) package every month. You only need something if you can't get along without it, and you've been getting along just fine without HDTV for years. Your TV is where you go when you don't want to do anything worthwhile; don't go spending a shitload of money you could better spend on food and bills to make your wasted time more wasteful.
Next is Blu-Ray. Just like HD TV, except you have to spend a crapload of money on a player for the discs too, and you can only watch movies you've purchased. Does it look better than DVD? Sure it does. But there are DVD players that upscale the DVD resolution, so the difference is even smaller. Again, though, the TV is where you waste time. Spend your money on things you better yourself with.
The other big offender is the clothing industry. Somehow, they've managed to convince people that they need an entirely new wardrobe every 3 months, a pair of shoes for each individual outfit, and as much jewellery to go with it all as possible. In fact, I went looking at mall store directories online, and some malls have as much as 44% of their stores as clothing retailers. Add in shoe stores and jewellery and you almost have the entire mall accounted for.
Here's what you should be doing, despite what you've been programmed to believe: you should be replacing clothing when it's worn out and can't be worn any more, and no sooner. I'm still wearing shirts I've owned for 10 years because there's nothing wrong with them. Nobody who matters is going to criticize you for not replacing your clothing on a regular rapid basis.
More to the point, anyone who tells you you need something you've been living without just fine until now is full of shit. You can get it if you want it, but don't get it out of some false sense of requirement.
Of course, the recently passed Boxing Day shopping doesn't help any. Now all the stuff you've been told you need to survive is available at some kind of arbitrary discount. All the better to make you spend your money on stuff you don't need, from places that are overpriced to start with. You don't need any of that stuff, but if you want it on its own merits nobody's going to stop you.
That's one reason I don't expect gifts from anyone; I already have everything I need, and when I want something I just go out and get it. You know what list I'm going to make for next year? Shit I Don't Need. Numbers 1 and 2 on the list: clothes and HD. Followed by VD.