Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#351 / Goodies?

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, the San Jose Mercury News ran an article in their "Sunday Business" section extolling a new, Los Angeles-based business called Loot Crate.

For only $13.37 per month, you can sign up for a "Box of Goodies," with a $40.00+ retail value. That box of stuff will come to your door (every month) and you will just be surprised. You'll get a bunch of stuff you didn't even know you were going to get. How great, right?

Well, I hate to be disparaging, but I think this is a pretty stupid idea.

Maybe my reaction comes from my commitment to Quaker simplicity. Or, my reaction could be associated with my "no regrets" idea that we should consume radically less. I am pretty sure that my recollection of that very powerful video, The Story of Stuff, plays into my negative reaction to the whole idea of Loot Crate.

One person posed a question on my blog entry titled "Extinction Is Forever." That was the posting in which I suggested that we should be trying to consume "radically less." 

"Consuming less of what?" was the question.

I refer all readers who have that question to the Story of Stuff video. That video makes it pretty clear.

Less of everything.

And NO Loot Crate!

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  1. "Less of everything," is a flippant non-answer to a serious question.

    Do you recommend people consume less locally grown produce? No. Do you recommend people consume fewer books? No. Do you recommend people consume less electricity by disabling life support equipment in a hospital? No. Do you recommend people reduce their material consumption by buying no toys for their infant child? No.

    The way to get people to consume less is to educate. Be aware of the supply chain of your produce. Consume things that have educational utility, like books; preferably nonfiction. Be aware of idle power consumption in your electronics.

    Saying that this product is a "pretty stupid idea" is needlessly insulting because it judges the buyer instead of criticizing the utility of the product. Social status is a driver of consumer culture. You may not see the utility in a box of geeky gamer junk, but geeky gamers (I know a few of these) actually get real utility from the stuff. Social status is a real thing. You can’t hope to reduce consumer culture while denying its actual causes.

  2. Yes, less of everything. All of the above.

    We are consuming resources at a rate 1.5 to 5 times faster than their rate of natural replenishment. Do the maths.

    Either we find a way to live as responsible lifeforms on this planet, or we follow the dodo down the evolutionary porcelain parkway.

    What'll it be?

  3. So, wait, Michael, you're *for* disabling life support equipment?


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