Monday, December 01, 2008

Keep your nose out of my lunch bag, or, how's that possibly hurting you?

Saturday's Toronto Star published an article by Daniel Dale called "The Thrift Paradox: Want to help? Leave that lunch at home." "You can't blame people for cutting back these days, but what feels [?] right now might end up hurting later."

Never mind the strange grammar for the moment.

What bothers me more is the strange logic.

You know where they're going with this. If I don't buy lunch out, the restaurant suffers. If I wear my boots another winter, the shoe store suffers. If I decide to put off whatever Large Purchase I had in mind, the purveyors of that Large Purchase suffer. And the factories close and the jobs are lost, and it's all my fault because I didn't spend that $10 on lunch.

Um hm.

And here I thought I was just being creative by re-using some construction paper (crayoned on one side) to make a school-time Christmas booklet for my second grader. I guess I should have gone out and bought all-new paper and markers to do that properly, or probably bought her a commercial workbook instead. If Scholar's Choice goes under, it'll be my fault. (Do you know we still have some markers around that The Apprentice had before she started school? Fifteen years ago things were still made to last.)

Googling the words Frugality Hurts The Economy brings up these thoughtful responses:

Want What You Have: Can You Be Too Frugal? I don't for a minute believe that frugality hurts the economy. In fact, it seems pretty clear that the lack of frugality in this country is what's gotten us....

Does living frugally hurt the economy? Wise Bread
When I advocate for frugal living, people sometimes ask, "What if everybody lived like that? Wouldn't it hurt the economy?"

Are Your Frugal Ways Hurting Us All? Wise Bread
Not being frugal is what has reduced our economy into it's current poor state....

Are frugal people ruining the economy? - Smart Spending Blog - MSN ...
Frugal people actually have money to spend! How does that hurt the economy? Frugal people have mortgages they can afford and are not swimming in credit card debt....

I like that last point especially. Those who have lived with restraint won't be the ones squawking the most about having to cut back on life's little luxuries. The frugal will be the ones who have the skills to survive when times get hard, when certain commodities disappear or become too expensive for most people.

So, Mr. Dale: "Where's my civic spirit?" Right here in my kitchen, making my own hot chocolate mix and experimenting with low-sodium bread recipes (that last, I might point out, to try to help keep my husband from having to spend any more time in the hospital where they've just announced more bed closures and nurse layoffs); in my dining room, re-using last year's perfectly good Advent calendar and my husband's grandmother's dishes (sorry, china store); and in my rec room/classroom, keeping at least one of my children from taking up a costly seat in the public school system (and yes, I do pay school taxes, everybody does). [And oh yes--last but not least--trying to stay out of debt and otherwise out of trouble so that we don't end up being a burden on somebody else.]

Climb on up and maybe we can swap sandwiches.


Sebastian said...

How about if my purchasing choices serve to support the local library (through its used book sales) and the chain of half priced book stores?
In times when home sales are slow, historically home improvement stores do well.
Not all businesses have a right to prosper. People make choices all the time. You might as well say that we need to stop reading on line media because it hurts books and magazines. Or that the rise in digital cameras has put Kodak and Polaroid on the skids. Or that the rise in car sales has hurt blacksmiths.
You are spot on with this one.

Anonymous said...

well said!

Katie said...

Mama Squirrel, just wanted to let you know I fixed the post where I said you recommended the story, "The Chimes". Apologies. I am too busy to blog responsibly, I think! Need to doublecheck my sources before hitting publish. I'll try to do better in future.

Katie said...
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