Behold The Euro Chopper. It was a bonus that came with a purchase of Forever Sharp knives on Black Friday. I'd had one such chopper years ago, purchased for 9.99 at a kiosk in the Livingston Mall for my dad (but really for me).Today I used this new one for the first time (its retail value now supposedly $34.95). Well, I guess Europe really ain't what it used to be, because today was also the day the Euro Chopper broke. (Come to think of it, I think that's the same fate the first one met, only it served us a lot longer.)
Maybe I was too vigorous in my onion chopping, but more likely The Euro Chopper is a flimsy piece of crap, and one whose components will remain on the planet long after the maggots have trod through my brain, savoring all the delicious clever morsels. And all just to chop less than one onion, when I already had the Forever Sharp knife to perform the same task quite well.
If I ever go crazy, don't be surprised if it happens in a big-box store, set off by some ridiculous product like a box of Fast Franks, each hot dog pre-bunned and sealed in its own plastic that will never decompose.
This 20-minute web film by Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff, breaks down the issues that combine to give me the fear whenever I find myself in a conventional supermarket or mall or big-box store. Basically, Annie explains how the current system of production and consumption is burning through the planet's resources, putting toxins in the air and into people, and wrecking lives, and all so that people can keep buying more and more crap that's designed to break or become obsolete, and keep tossing away what they have to make room for still more crap. Clearly it's a model that can't sustain itself forever. (I guess Annie wanted her message to be accessible to children, so her delivery is a bit too Romper Room, but we'll let that slide.)
As someone who has never had a whole lot of money to play with, who comes from a line of the same, I have a latter-day Depression mentality: I'm not comfortable spending for spending's sake, I hate using credit, and rarely purchase anything costing more than $20 unless it can't be avoided. My brother and I learned garage sale-ing, rummage sale-ing, and thrifting as kids and obviously I relish keeping that tradition alive today. It's so ingrained that even if I strike it rich, I'll be one of those rich people who still can't help wanting a good deal.
My love for old stuff probably developed through the garage sale-ing, and I came to see that the old stuff was generally just made better than the new stuff. Planned obsolescence kills me. Old Wolfgang, my former VW bus from 1979 (snif) is on his fourth life now, whereas my first car, Mikey, built less than 10 years later, was doubtless crushed into a cube long ago. Clothes purchased for way too much at Urban Outfitters today will last through a handful of washes before falling to pieces, and they're only meant to last that long; whereas the orginal vintage versions of the shirts or jackets or dresses Urbs is ripping off are still kicking decades later. I was using my family's main Zenith TV from the 70s well into the 90s, and my stereo is a late 70s Panasonic model with the robot arm that allows you to play stacks of records at a time.
The bf & I butt heads on this a little. We both have more than our share of hippy moments, but the bf lacks this hard-wired thriftiness, and being a guy, he loves having the latest whatever gadgetry. (Aren't guys cute?) Sometimes he gets a little weary of my old-tymey ways and will point out, "See? technology is good!" As if I'm riding side-saddle in a hoop dress on a bicycle with a giant front wheel.
But it just alarms me, the rate that consumption of resources and products is accelerating while quality goes down, with so many people not considering the bigger picture or just how much continuously generated (then thrown away) crap is out there. That's probably why I've always been fond of this crazy from the 1970 Jack Nicholson film, Five Easy Pieces.
(Movies were made better back in the day, too. I just saw part of a 1998 remake of the 1962 existential creepout classic Carnival of Souls. You guessed it: the new version was a full-on turd!)
"I've seen filth that you wouldn't believe." Can you see why I identify with her? I don't even want to talk about it.