By Patricia C. Bischof

At this moment, why don’t you go look into your clothes’ closet! How many of any one clothing item might you have accumulated because of the need to have the newest version of that item? As to the importance of keeping the economy going, though, too many of any one item can bog us down. Having seventy-five jeans or fifty sweaters might make one the Imelda Marcos of jeans and sweaters.

Consumerism has taken its toll in quite a few respects. We are having manufacturing done overseas, such as in China, especially manufacturing everything from plastic spoons to high-end luxury handbags found in Fifth Avenue stores in Manhattan, and for that we can thank our government. The speed in which making products are being made has taken the quality out of the production of many items. Fast production has compromised value, quality and overall workmanship. This overseas manufacturing theme has affected our economy, providing fewer jobs within the United States.

Whereas it is fun and sometimes important to dress nicely or appropriately, it is not always necessary to accumulate in the manner that one does today. Whether one believes in global warming or not, the overabundance of purchasing items and then discarding them has made our landfills a castle of junk that has affected our present environment. One could learn to limit purchasing so many items, and if one is so inclined, they can donate them to a worthy cause of their choice.

This author when infrequently going on a shopping trip has a mantra asking; “Do I need it, do I already have some and why am I buying it in the first place?” Impulsively purchasing for no apparent reason, but just to purchase can have certainly negative outcomes. One may become deficient in providing for their financial means to save for the future or have the inability to accumulate wealth,or can have a negative affect towards the availability for financial obligations and necessities. Purging and having less product can have not only a spiritual component to it, but by giving back to those less fortunate and eliminating waste by donating to a worthy cause can enhance our environmental footprint for future years to come.

The average citizen does not need all this accumulation of stuff unless one just happens to be the Duchess of Windsor and have the need to keep up a certain persona. Living in an unencumbered manner by living simply does feel good. Although one is not their clothes, first impressions do have some influence on the interaction with others.

What is really important is the ability to communicate and I am not speaking about texting either. It is somewhat of a lost art to actually have a face to face, verbal interaction with someone, and without the interruption of a smartphone. To be present to someone’s dialogue can actually be stimulating, fun and educational. I recently heard a woman tell someone that at the time she was dating someone, her partner actually sent her a text message to break off their relationship. Lucky for her, even if she did not see it at the time, no pun intended, that this breakup occurred before she may have married this person.

Unless you may be Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge or Kate Middleton’s sister, is it necessary to purchase the newest of what is stated in fashion magazines and the fashion world? The fashion dictators want to let you know that unless you buy the most recent fad, you are not in the in crowd or you are unaware of how to dress. Only to find out in twenty or thirty years later that your present clothes come back around in style anyway! It takes approximately thirty years for a clothing style to come back to its own again. This scheme is totally for consumerism and to especially enhance the clothing industry and coating the industry leaders’ pockets. Many of us can get get caught up into this commercial mire. So hang on to your goods, and lesson the load! For each one of us it is a matter of making correct and prudent choices. We have at our disposal so much to choose from.

With the availability of purchasing almost anything today without having to leave our desks or home by the use of the computer, purchasing is just a click away, which has made it easily available to buy goods. This impulsive nature has gotten to the best of us, so the next time you are inclined to buy something new, give it a mental thought of how important is it to purchase something new, let alone, do I really need it. What has become quite popular even though they have been around for quite some time is the emergence of the thrift shop, better known as the second hand store or used clothing store. They have come to their own in recent years. Choices are amazing from purchasing the finest brand name cashmere sweater or silk necktie to high end handbags. Choices are immense, whether for women, men or children or in between. Sometimes you may even find the original price tag still on an item being sold at these shops. Many times these brick and mortar stores have been established for a worthy cause where the store’s sales profits go towards helping the needy or homeless. There are numerous shops to choose from. Be forewarned, the next time you are inclined to treat yourself to a new outfit, scavenge around at one of these establishments. You will be quite amazed and will be helping those in need due to your recent purchase.

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Date: July, 17 2014

Patricia C. Bischof 

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