Air-conditioned, music piped in. Mall parking lot full of cars. Everybody trying to keep up with the Joneses by buying what the Joneses already bought. There are more clothes in this world than are needed to dress everyone– and the nice easy way to allow yourself a guilt-free romp at the mall is to bag it all up, and drop it off, especially in the time of emergency.
You have dutifully emptied out your closet of last years style, of things that look awful on you, that are too small, that don’t “bring you joy” in the current KonMari vernacular, into plastic bags you drop off at the donation center of your choice, for the “Disaster Du Jour” drive.
It’s all about making YOU feel good. Honorable. Virtuous. What you’ve bagged and dropped off after a disaster shows no bearing on real need and use… (Winter jackets? Sent to South Carolina or South Africa? Almost expired cans and boxes of food that you bought a year ago and NEVER found a day where it seemed like a good addition to your dinner menu?) AND you get to go shopping again for yourself, to replace those goods you dropped off!! Win/win! Capitalism will continue to thrive!
Donating commodities, or hand-made pillowcases; that makes you feel good while you get to do what you want and shop again! Buy more yarn! New jeans for everyone! Why do you do it that way, rather than just ponying up 20 bucks to slip into the Red Cross box? Is it the same superiority of virtue that you feel when you see a beggar on the street? YOU know better than they do about what they require? You know HOW they should live? You take away free agency from them by handing them what you THINK they need/deserve– (a paper bag from McDonalds?) Giving them 10 bucks means in your mind they’re going to drink it away, but you feel so superior giving them a hamburger– that you are more evolved, more correct? How can you make determinations as to what they actually need? They may use the 10 bucks so they could go buy some object or experience they know they need (I don’t want to assume what they want– maybe a toothbrush, maybe a can of cat food for their furry companion, maybe a new shopping bag… Who are you to decide they can’t buy a new pair of socks? How many $1 menu burgers should a homeless person accept a day?)
Paying it forward in a local restaurant near where they hang out would be a better deal. They can come in out of the cold, use the restroom like a paying patron and have a meal they choose, served to them like a human.
“Do-good-ism” and superiority go hand-in-hand. You feel that Red Cross, for example, uses too much of its money in a non-correct (to you) fashion and so therefore you’re going to send them your old sheets and towels instead of money– or you are going to really show them by sending that all to Salvation Army instead. You don’t want to shop at Goodwill because they don’t pay some staff “properly” . However, you are willing to shop at Walmart for clothing that is made in Bangladesh (by people who are not paid properly either), whose CEO’s make the Goodwill issues look quaint, and whose store employees are paid so little they are a large drain on your own local, state and federal government social programs. Hey, you gotta save a buck when you can, right?
You won’t eat at X or buy from Y and boycott Z because of this or that and the other, and yet…..You don’t shop at Salvation Army because of their religious bent, but you spend hours roaming Hobby Lobby. You do have to suffer through Christian revival music in ReGenisis thrift stores, but have you LISTENED to some of the lyrics coming out of the speakers at your local XYZ?? We make these decisions of where to shop on determinations of what is “correct” and what should be boycotted based on our own very narrow view of “what is right”. Pete Buttigieg said of Chik-Fil-A, “I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” If EVERYONE is boycotting SOMETHING, it’s somewhat a wash, right?
Why are you willing, even EAGER to fork over your old belongings and yet so stingy with cash? Are you intimating that these folks are incapable of making good choices on their own? Do you feel ownership over their behavior because you gave them cash? You can continue to look down on them because of your superior circumstance? You give them your clothes, not your standards of living. You are silently saying you know better than them. Or do you simply want an excuse to go shop? (Hail, Capitalism!)
Quilters or knitters busily make pillowcase and quilts and afghans-NOT because the newly homeless due to disaster or as yet “unsaved” in some foreign country need or don’t need such things, but because it makes them feel good and virtuous. They give away that $30 of fabric (bought it 5 years ago and never could figure out what to make) They spend three to thirty hours of “effort”, doing something they enjoy doing anyway. (please, I don’t mean EVERYONE. I am using the “Royal You”… ) and shop it off overseas….
I do enjoy thrifting.. the odd aisles, the lack of rubber-stamp corporate decor and layout, the non-organized hangers, the digging about on shelves, and the excitement of locating something unique, something old–something that is a memory trigger. Ask me and I will most likely inform you that 75% of any outfit (NEVER shoes or undergarments) I am wearing is from a thrift store. I like that I choose what I like, that I am not looking like every other person every day. I don’t aim for far-out or vintage vibes, although I do admire those who pull it off. I just can’t think of anything better than letting someone else take a stiff new pair of jeans and turn them into something relaxed and comfortable. for me to wear. I enjoy the hunt, the search for that elusive something that others set free. It’s not as easy as breezing through Target and finding all my sizes right there. It isn’t the place to go if you KNOW you NEED a purple short sleeve sweater and nothing else will do… (but if purple short sleeve sweaters aren’t the style this year, you may be out of luck at Macy’s, too.)
I read once that every piece of clothing uses on average 7 gallons of water to be made. That is a pretty shocking thought. The clothes I am purchasing second-hand are obviously not stopping that, but it doesn’t hurt to do my small part to save the planet, either. If you shopped even some of the time at a local thrift store, their back rooms wouldn’t look like this… and yet if you stop shopping at your Kohls or Target or or or… then the local economy falters and the person who has a part time job at Walmart loses their precarious foothold in the work world…
We really HAVE jacked things up, haven’t we??
We spend our weekends hunting through yard sales and flea markets and estate sales while our homes are FULL. (and our credit cards fuller) We are looking for what? That item that makes it to Antique Roadshow and brings in the big bucks? That unicorn of an item we didn’t know we couldn’t do without until we saw it sitting there, shoved to the back of the shelf, our hunter-gatherer DNA popping to the surface.
We buy another coffee mug with a cute saying (guilty as charged over here) while we know we have more mugs than ever make it into rotation, and STILL use the big green one every morning.
My pots and pans are copper-bottom Revere Ware from my grandmothers home. over 50 years old. I love them and will never willingly get rid of them. Yet still, Kohls puts up the shiny display that I stop to admire. I know my cabinets can’t accommodate another item, AND yet. (I do resist the temptation here!) If I were to spot a piece at thrift store, it would probably come home with me.
We are not a nation that is willing to do without…But we are also not a nation that feels we should be cognizant of any type of “WHAT ARE WE DOING?” either.
Just some thoughts on a hot summers day.
Two very interesting articles. IN KIND DONATIONS
I am looking forward to Droughtlander.
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because the idea of having almost unfettered contact points (via Twitter and Instagram) to the actors, writers, producers and production team is so astonishing, and then using that access weekly to vilify them, to bitch at them, to complain to them, to tell them they are wrong just floors me.
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because the writers are artists in their own right… not transcriptionists. They are ADAPTING an overwhelmingly bulky story into another medium and they have every right to add their own flavor. I know I couldn’t do it better, and you couldn’t either.
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because I tire of hearing “that wasn’t in the book, stick to the books, the author knows best” AND “Murtagh shouldn’t die; he should marry Jocasta;” “I miss the antics of Rupert and Angus;” “OMG, why do they skip all the conversation and only have action–I don’t care about battles,” AND “why is it all just talking, so boring!” Diametrically opposed, bros. (Pro tip–They are NOT writing it for YOU; your giving a Hamilton to STARZ five months a year is not a contractual obligation they make the show YOU want.)
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because now that another season can be viewed AS A WHOLE, I think that upon rewatching, maybe people will view those things that didn’t make sense in the short-term (57-minute story) and were derided as a waste of screen time will be seen as prescient and well-crafted; now that the ‘tale is told.’
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because the constant “I hope the writers wake up and write what I want to see from the books, or they will lose viewers” is OLD. They are professional story-tellers. They are not writing purposefully bad episodes and sneaking them past multiple layers of editor$ and director$ and producer$ to magically appear on your TV, awaiting your pronouncement it was done wrong. They just aren’t, ok?
- I’m looking forward to a respite from the constant bickering over something having happened on page 754 but showing up in episode 4 instead episode 10.
- I am looking forward to a year where there isn’t a weekly “this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, I hate this episode, I hate this season, I hate this actor” and yet! Here I am watching it (at midnight!) so that I can bitch and whine and whine and bitch.
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because I will not have to comment for a year– “It was one 2 minute scene of a 57 minute episode of a 684 minute season of a 1000 page book of a ~ 9000 page series of 10 novels that haven’t been finished yet!”
- I will not have to hear about “that one book quote that touched my heart so deeply, that made me swoon and that I tell everyone they should read the book for, was not represented properly, at the right time, by the wrong person or not at all” (I knew going in “my” favorite scene this season wouldn’t make the cut… But I can still go back and read the scene and laugh!)
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because yes, I hate Sam’s wig and I mostly hate it because they have done just everything else visual perfectly, and I truly can’t see what the reason for his look is. I will hold out hope that in season 5 he finally wears his hair like EVERY OTHER MALE IN THE SHOW over the age of 15–good guy, bad guy and whether it suits them.
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because I am of the generation that had to remember not to make plans on Thursday nights if I wanted to watch 22 episodes of a half-hour sitcom that I learned about when the TV Guide showed up. I got to watch the reruns over the summer one more time, and then it disappeared from my world. I can watch season 1-4 on an endless loop 24/7 till the new season. (and I just may!)
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because during Droughtlander, I’m going to go to Scotland! This spring a trip to Ireland, Scotland and Wales is being planned– with friends I have made VIA Outlander! What a special way to spend some of my Droughtlander!
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because it means that Diana Gabaldon’s next book is getting closer to publication, and hopefully there wont be things for people to complain about in that! (she’s the SOURCE!)
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because we will all be together in the misery that is Droughtlander, and misery loves company, and we on these fan pages will eventually tire of bitching, and find things to talk about and we will forge new layers of friendship while suffering, together.
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander so we don’t have to discuss whether time given to beauty shots– the vistas and locations that Diana WRITES pages and pages about–is wasted time. (It’s not. It’s a VISUAL medium.) TV an aural medium, and the risky choices of music ALSO tell a story; a story of time travelers, and of how multi-layered our lives and our story and the history of this country is and how often, we only see the bits we want to see. These are also things expressed in paragraphs and pages of the book.
- And you know what? I agree we don’t NEED to see another instance of Claire playing doctor, eating up those precious minutes of screen time… but the thing is, Dr. Claire Is ALL OVER THE BOOKS. *(if Diana WRITES another eyeball-oriented medical situation in BEES, however, I’m gonna throw the book! <VBG>)
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander because it could have been a feature length movie instead, and if you think they changed things for episodic TV…. Ron and Co have been amazing. As my husband said when I was fretting about the books being ruined, back at the beginning, “Trust Ron. He is a world builder.”
- I am looking forward to Droughtlander, because this too shall pass.
I found Outlander in 2003 because I went to the library and always looked for the thickest book I could find. I stayed for the life of these characters and for the show.
I show up to work every day because I have to go there; I don’t want to go to work, but they pay me. I cannot imagine spending my midnights every Saturday doing something that I know is going to piss me off. Unless I was being paid, I can’t imagine spending so much of my time watching and then going onto fan pages and complaining. If I knew I was going to getso aggravated by what I saw on a TV show, I’d stop watching or wait for the DVD and a snow day binge. If I constantly came away from the show disappointed and let down, I would stop giving it my psychic energy.
I have stopped reading books that everyone raves about because I tried and tried and couldn’t find joy in them. I close them and put them away. Same with TV shows. (Mrs. Maisel?) Sometimes, it is just a bad fit. I don’t have to watch the TV show –I’m not being paid. I don’t have to be in any group-I’m not doing paid. I have left groups because I do not like the vibe. Nobody is forcing me to stay in a group.
But I can not understand anyone doing that to themselves. Getting worked up to the point of trolling the cast and crew on Twitter, feeling they have the right and obligation to make sure they are as loud and rude about their displeasure to everyone who will listen.
There is a really simple solution:
Turn off the TV and open up the book again; it’s gonna be a LONG DROUGHTLANDER!
(if you would like to add to my piggy bank for this wonderful, once in a lifetime trip to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, please consider purchasing one of my photos! Follow this hyperlink and please, pass it on!)