Disposable Society

How many cars have you owned?  How many cell phones?  How many TV’s?  Some people buy the hottest new model each year.  Consumerism is causing our society to take on a disposable mentality.  Rather than fix something, we’ll toss it aside and buy something new.  And some people will quickly look to upgrade rather than hold onto an older model. cycle-of-consumerism

Work.  Buy.  Consume.  Die.


Some technology, like phones, are more difficult to hold on to for lengthy periods of time.  Every year cell phone providers conveniently roll out new technology rendering old phones obsolete.  When service moved to 3G my phone stopped working, and the service provider didn’t bother to notify me.  Forced to upgrade, my phone would no longer work with their new cell towers.   Each phone must have a gremlin implanted to cause problems after a year and a half, forcing their user to upgrade.  Conspiracy lives!

Now that society is hooked on smart phones for EVERYTHING, wireless providers have moved to a leasing business model where you lease your phone for the same amount it would take to purchase it.  Only instead of owning it, you can upgrade to a newer model after a year for “free.”  You just pay this monthly fee and stay locked into our plan for two years each time, no biggie, right?  Perpetual payments.  Sprint allows you to purchase a phone instead of leasing, but you are subjected to a surcharge.  A surcharge for owning!  More like a penalty!  The surcharge would increase the price up above the lease amount.  Have you noticed phones made less durable because the technology keeps changing?  So, gone are the days of long lasting durability.  Don’t forget to buy this screen protector and case to keep your phone safe, which will cost just as much as the phone.   Once these companies have everyone on a lease agreement, what’s next?  They will find a way to penalize you and inserts fees somewhere in order to make money.


Image from Sidon, Lebanon garbage dump sliding into the sea.  For more on Sidon’s garbage dump Click Here.  More on Lebanon’s garbage crisis, Click Here.

The tech is moving quickly and upgrades are necessary, but isn’t it a little wasteful?  Picture mountains of cell phones, computers, cars, Keurig cups, and gadgets littering the ocean floor.  A discarded digital junkyard coral won’t even call home.  And what happened to driving a car for 10 to 20 years?  Owning a used car for 12 years made me PROUD to keep something in good condition.  Meanwhile, my friends are trading in their cars every year for something shiny and new.  Then they wonder why they can’t save money.  Irresponsibility thrives with people breaking every new gadget and item they purchase, and they wonder why they can’t save money.


My friends said to buy a bigger house after I was promoted.  Why, is my home broken?  The walls still work and there is ample space.  While a new house sounds tempting, my home is still home.  The large oak trees in the backyard can’t come with me if I move.  The silver tree painted on my studio wall can’t come with me.  My home is not disposable.  I care for what I have and make small upgrades to keep things in working order.  Meanwhile, my debt is slowly declining with each mortgage payment and my income is a tad bit higher thanks to not spending every penny towards a new house I don’t need.


Take care of the property you own and it will last longer.  Stop feeling the pressure from consumerism to upgrade unless the technology forces you to.  Push back for durability and longer lasting products.  Not everything has to be high tech.  Get a French press instead of a wasteful Keurig.  Take a minute to brew some water on the stove or an electric kettle.


Become a conscious consumer!

  • Next time you want to buy something, stop and think, “Do I really NEED this?”
  • Purchase quality items that last longer instead of cheap knock offs that break.
  • Research large purchases online, especially cars, at consumerreports.org.  The money you save in the long run is well worth avoiding the headache of replacing it a year later.

When you take care of your things, they take care of you by not breaking your pocketbook.  Life is not disposable.

-Wen Di




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