Tuesday, October 4, 2016

consumerism dying 2 of 3


Yesterday we ended by talking about the decrease in the quality of consumer items and how that effects the real prices of items even more.  There are the Three Use And Break items.  This includes any shoes under $20 ( there are some that last longer than a month at that price, but they never break in and are the perfect example of a Steve Martin Cruel Shoe ), any tool from the Dollar Store, any roll of duct tape under $4 ( loses stickiness after one hour of application ), any generic pencil ( lead continues to break during sharpening, use, or during viewing ) and thousands of other items.  Then there are the Middlin Items which cost twice as much, BUT last four times as long.  Alas, that length of functionality is a mere 25%-50% of what it used to be just a few short years ago.  Getting two years out of a pair of pants ( before repairs are necessary to prolong their life ) is now high quality.  It used to be far longer than that.  Expensive shoes now last a year where before it was five years for cheap shoes.  And etcetera.


In summation, I’d like to ball park it and say that everything that you buy at high price only lasts half as long ( the three time cheap crap isn’t even worth buying.  Before, it lasted half the usage as the expensive and was worth buying a Disposable Item.  Now, a complete waste of money and time and resources ).  That $35/$100 ( in inflation adjusted dollars ) wool shirt?  Used to last the rest of your life and so was an investment?  Now, consider it a $200 shirt as it won’t last into your Golden Years.  That is 25% of your GROSS monthly wages, which translates into a third of your take home pay after taxes.  Granted, you don’t feel that whole cost all at once, but just knowing you must start saving up again for a replacement of an item that just put you back that much in your purchasing power definitely helps in decreasing your willingness to be a wanton consumer.  Now multiply that by the dozens of things you buy all the time.  Or, more properly, would LIKE to buy as you no longer can afford it. 


How many of these whoppers have we been forced to endure in just the last ten years?  Suddenly, you couldn’t afford a mortgage or even rent.  Suddenly, you couldn’t move to a cheaper area as there were no more jobs.  If you did move to another area, throwing caution to the wind, property taxes were suddenly rather insane ( and no matter where you are, you can be assured that they will double again during the next round of local government revenue collapse which will be real soon ).  Suddenly, medical insurance tripled or quadrupled.  If you were silly enough to have medical insurance, as soon as you wanted to use it to save your life, just the deductible alone set you back 25% of your gross annual income.  Any costs not covered then put you in debt for life.  Now, how much does all that leave for consumption?  I’m certainly not claiming we can’t go spend money.  Of course we can.  You keep filling your gas tank, right?


( on a side note, I was checking out the Western Rifle Shooters web site and got a link to a prepper dude.  In his article, he nonchalantly mentioned using storage fuel to take a Sunday drive.  It was in one of those states that was without gasoline due to the pipeline spill.  WHAT???  I suppose next you’ll be using storage foods because you don’t want to go to the grocery store?  Or storage ammo to go plink with.  You rotate, certainly you do.  But you don’t EVER use storage items for everyday use, now do you?  Perhaps this blogger was new to the whole writing thing and just forgot to mention he was planning on replacing the fuel.  But, again, WHAT???  There is no fuel available as a replacement.  Oh, you ASSUME it will once again be available?  What if, let’s just suppose as it’s a preppers go-to scenario, an EMP or solar flare cooked off before the gas started flowing again?  Sure, low probability but still a possibility.  You CAN’T time the collapse.  Sweet Baby Jesus weeps ).


We all keep consuming, but by necessity as funds are decreased AND the remainder are force fed elsewhere into monopolies such as medical, we consume LESS.  Almost everyone.  So every corporation that sells goods and services is affected.  Every bank loaning to those businesses.  Every state that collects sales tax.  I used to spend 50% of my take home pay on prep items ( NOT including books which are my wages for writing-this was regular day job earnings ).  Month after month as there were always items I needed after years of just getting the bare bones consumables.  I mean, just stocking the heck out of bayonets for my Smelly’s took over half a months prepper budget ( which would have equaled the cost of another rifle-I take my bayonets seriously and thought nothing of spending $200 for a half dozen knives and a half dozen spikes.  The spike types are crap but the only thing available at the time ).  Also at the time, there was NO gunpowder or primers for sale and so I bought many spam cans of 7.62x54r ammo ( the bullets are the same caliber and the powder will work with a slight volume adjustment ).  Every month there was something else, another prepper project.


Now?  All gone.  No more buying.  Occasionally something comes up like replacing my temperate weather jacket ( my extreme cold weather jacket doesn’t get worn until the temps go single digit ).  If you want to replace your M-65 military jacket, Sportsman’s Guide has Spanish surplus for $33.  Not as much weight as the American surplus, but still a heck of a bargain ( see my review on their web site ).  And that isn’t the only thing I’m consuming less of.  I used to go to a movie once a year.  No more ( as a kid, I went every week ).  I used to get RedBox DVD’s at least once a month.  Now, perhaps three times a year.  Eating out?  Once a year instead of once a month.  In my case, I don’t want to earn over $10k a year and then be forced to spend an additional 10% of my gross income on the health care tax.  Plus, fearing unemployment, I’m saving all I can.  Now multiple that by everyone.  Everyone has their story why they can’t consume as much ( as prices for consumer businesses increase ).  More tomorrow.


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  1. Tell me about it ha ha. You well know why I don't spend anything, anymore. Lol , ya gotta have it , to spend it !
    Sure I've got lots of neat guns and ammo, and fortunately thanks to friends and family, haven't had to sell off any of that.
    Those days are gone, and now anything extra is spent on more food preps of some sort. Cuz i firmly believe it is not possible to have, too much food storage !

    Speaking of which...gotta get my lame ass busy prepping for the hurricane that's heading our way. I'm only about five miles from the coast, counting the islands and lagoon...only a mile from the lagoon and about twenty feet in elevation !

    Could be in deep caca,if it moves fifty miles west when it comes past....

    1. For the last few days the temps actually followed the calendar for once and got Fall cold. We ran the food dryer to help heat the house. The fruit is free, too nasty for our pampered Food Bank clients, and even if it is just vitamins rather than calories it feels good to put more food back. I can always find more room for non-bulk items.

  2. Good to know about the pencil lead thing. I thought it was just my cheap sharpeners doing it. I noticed a while back that the crappy duct tape that you buy now has no stick to it what so ever anymore. I did hear of one brand (possibly here) that is still good and sticky, but it's like $8 a roll now. I think it's the 3M brand, but don't quote me on that.

    You're not missing out on much by not going to the movies anymore James, same with passing on almost all television shows today. It's all pc, turd burglar, feminazi garbage, unless you can select a genre that it would be challenging gay up and feminize, such as a western, and even then, all bets are off. That Hugh Glass Revenant movie with Leonardo DiCaprio looked like it might have been worth seeing. Haven't been to the movies in over 15 years, and will probably never go again the rest of my life. The price for a ticket if I recall was around $7 back then? I'll bet it's a heck of a lot higher now, only to fill your head full of hollyweird perversions.

  3. Weeell - gasoline may be another matter. With the amount of ethanol in it, it makes more sense to burn the older fuel, AS LONG AS YOU REMEMBER TO REPLACE IT WITH FRESH FUEL.

    With jackets, I've learned to layer a sweater under an oversize windbreaker to get some warmth for inexpensive price. Good way to conceal those ugly ass Christmas sweaters too. If the sleeves are too bulky, just cut them off the sweater - keeping your trunk warm accomplishes much the same effect. If you wear decent gloves, that should keep you pretty toasty.

    Thanks for the article sir.

    1. In our area you can now buy non-ethanol for about a dime over super. Not that I store gas, but options are good.