Sunday, October 23, 2011

We have too much stuff

There are many signs that our society has become too materialistic.
The top-rated show on A&E is Storage Wars where we watch a group of colourful characters buy and sell the contents of storage lockers whose owners have defaulted on the monthly rent.
The top show on History TV is Pawn Stars where we watch a colourful Las Vegas family buy interesting items from people who never admit they're desperate to pay gambling debts.
History also has American Pickers and Canadian Pickers which each follow two guys who drive around buying stuff that fits the expression "one man's trash is another man's treasure."
Spike's highest rated show is Auction Hunters, another storage locker buying show.
A&E's Hoarders is also doing really well. If you're like me, you watch Hoarders and say, "at least I'm not that bad."
There are many more shows about acquiring stuff. The ones I know about and usually enjoy include Hardcore Pawn, Antiques Road Show (UK, US, Canada), Auction Kings, What the Sell, the very weird Oddities, and Pawnathon Canada.
But here's something that hit me this morning when we were on Catherine Street dropping Zander off at the bus station. See this storage locker building that is a block from Bank Street:

It used to be a bowling alley.
I'm not saying that a bowling alley is the absolute best use of downtown real estate, but it makes me sad that it was more economical for the owners of 270 Catherine to rip out the lanes, pins and ball returns and put in storage lockers.
Shouldn't we be bowling instead of acquiring so much stuff that it won't fit in our homes so we have to rent storage lockers?


RealGrouchy said...

What's worse:

(1) People spend so much time watching TV shows about clutter than, say, tidying up the house.

(2) The two Got Junk trucks seems to be strangely appropriate (though the company does keep stuff they collect that can be re-used)

- RG>

Dana Lee Ling said...

Living in the marine rainy tropics is a fairly good solution to the accumulation of clutter. Plastic mildews and molds, wood rots, and stainless steel does not remain stainless. A combination of year round heat, humidity, and salt dust in the air. The good news is that global warming may bring this climate to the temperate zones of the planet. Solving the too much stuff problem.

Margot MacPherson Brewer said...

It is marketing's victory over humanity. "Simple living" has transmogrified into "simple to buy." Our new collective mantra? "A moment on the lips and a lifetime giving lip service to decluttering." Mr. Ling's proposed solution is radical but practical. I myself got rid of half a basement worth of stuff simply by leaving it out in the rain. Unintentional but effective.