Can I do without this 1 thing, for now?

Well, not the blog, but stuff? Tasty snack, new shirt, a brighten-up-your-skin cream? How do you reduce as in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? So I’m trying asking that question above. The “… for now?” rider is important because I’m not cutting off from EVER having another barbeque pork chop, just for today.

The worst is grocery shopping: shocking to realize that people study consumer psychology as their life’s work. Supermarkets are deliberately set out so you have to wander, lost and dazed to find the staples that you want, located at diagonally opposite corners of the store. No natural light, no clocks, soothing music and frequent re-location of products so you have to wander even more, it’s all part of a capitalist plot (or a way to break even for a business). Here’s a fun link about food psychology surprises from Cornell U.

Add the whole branding thing to unintentional consumption, with the subliminal message that you are a sad loser UNLESS you buy this product which will fix you in this or that way. I was confused for ages before realizing that feeling bad after a shopping trip is sort of what advertisers intend, otherwise why would you need their product?

With all this marketing psychology stacked against me, I’m still tempted to consume, and that’s left over fear of enforced austerity I think. Like my great-grandmother having to go to be when it got dark to save candles, or having one dripping sandwich for her long day at a factory and being too ashamed to eat it, so she’d be hungry instead.

Reducing is really hard. For dieting, for budget reasons, for space reasons and for the environment. But less stuff and less weight makes most people in the west actually happier. I’m going to try the q. in the title for a few days. Measure of success: ONLY buying stuff on the list. Only eating when actually hungry. For now.


About Sue Boudreau

Sue Boudreau, 7 and 8th grade science teacher and still loving it after 33 years. My mission is to empower young people to use science-centered project based learning to make a difference in the world.
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