Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Limitations of the Compact

When I began compacting, I originally eschewed all purchases of new things. If it was new, it was gone from the shopping basket. End of story.

Yet, that wasn't very satisfying. Something was missing.

And, no, I'm not talking about needing new items. I don't. And, no, I'm not talking about finding fulfillment in purchasing. I don't.

Rather, I found that the commandment to avoid all purchases of new items--regardless of their source--was limiting and ineffective. In eschewing all new purchases, I couldn't support artists or craftspersons (the very people I ought to be supporting). It felt, in effect, like rejecting artists in the same vein as I rejected the big boxes was throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

So I amended my compact, and began purchasing new items from artists, knitters and woodworkers because they need our support very much. And by refusing to purchase new items from them, just as I refused to purchase new items from soul-less corporations, I was hampering the traditions of hand-made crafts.

So now, though I won't hop into Walmart and buy a new plastic toy for my little guy, I gladly wove my way through our Arts Festival and purchased a hand-made puzzle for him. And I mad that purchase without regret.

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