Sunday, March 30, 2014
Miss Em: Almost a Year (Almost) without Shopping
We get an occasional distress signal from Miss Em, dear daughter so far away: My boots are leaking! My shoes broke again! I'm dressed in rags!
Yes, Miss Em went off to Serbia last fall with two giant suitcases, for a four-season stay, in a country where the consumer goods are--she was warned--low quality and expensive. What an opportunity, we thought. An opportunity to stop acquiring so much.
Miss Em had succumbed to retail temptation many, many times over the preceding two years, partly as a result of youth, partly as a result of stress, partly as a result of peer pressure, and mostly because of the constant bombardments of consumer culture. She had spent way too much money.
How lucky to have an enforced time out. And lucky too to have a way back to the land of economic opportunity, which Serbia is not.
Now things are winding down. She has given away her heavy winter coat to a friend who has helped her in many ways. It says something (what, I am not quite sure) that the coat, a faux shearling from LL Bean, was acquired for a mere $5 at Goodwill. She gave the same friend a cashmere scarf that I picked up on sale for $10. No wonder we accumulate too much! No wonder that we so seldom wear anything out (I, at least, usually donate long before there's much wear).
Soon, we will visit Miss Em in Serbia and--I hope--get to thank all the people who have shown her so many kindnesses. Maybe we'll even get to see the shoe repair guy.