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Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need
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John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 08:21:48 MDT Print View

Kind of a lolz graph: WSJ Number of the Week

I share this here, but I think even the most the gear-headed backpackers are way down on the scale. An expensive sleeping bag is expensive ... but it isn't a 20 year RV loan.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 08:27:20 MDT Print View

"non-essential stuff including pleasure boats, jewelry, booze, gambling and candy."

I just categorically disagree with booze being non-essential. A fine scotch is, indeed, necessary for a good life......

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 08:52:29 MDT Print View

I'm really offended! I NEED my hiking gear, UNDERSTAND? :) All my hiking gear together wouldn't buy a nice sailboat winch.

My first impression was that electronics have added to these numbers. Ipods, smart phones, digital cameras, laptops and tablets are big.

From my personal experience, the boating market is as damaged as real estate. If you have cash, there are bargains to be had. $4/gallon gas won't improve the power boat market--- or the RV industry.

Americans buy a lot of CRAP--- cheap stuff that doesn't last, quantity over quality. There are thrift stores overflowing with this stuff and I don't want to think about what has headed to the landfill. I worked in electronics recycling for three years and what I saw scared me.

What really amazes me is that we throw away the good stuff! At this moment, I am writing on a computer completely assembled from recycled parts (and running Linux). I'm sitting in a recycled office chair and wearing Crocs, Columbia Titanium zip-offs, an Ex Officio base layer tee and an LL Bean down vest, all gleaned from local thrift stores and purchased for 10 cents on the dollar.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
Re: Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 09:01:29 MDT Print View

Strangely enough I am sitting with a recycled Lockheed drafting desk and chair ... bought from a surreal field full of office equipment (70's aerospace crash).

(linux on a refurb ... quad core ;-), more than I need)

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 09:48:06 MDT Print View

Sam Walton has made millions on this knowledge.

Edit: not enough coffee in my system to get his name right, sorry.

Edited by kthompson on 04/23/2011 09:56:35 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 09:50:43 MDT Print View

"Sam Wall has made millions on this knowledge."

WHO is Sam Wall?

--B.G.--

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 09:53:02 MDT Print View

Mr. Wallmart

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
REI on 04/23/2011 10:02:21 MDT Print View

To up the "chaff" on this thread, I'm not sure the staples stores like Walmart are to blame as much as those who specialize in "aspirational consumption."

When outdoor stores get a little grand, it worries me.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 17:34:54 MDT Print View

"Mr. Wallmart"

You meant Sam Walton, the founder.

--B.G.--

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 18:54:26 MDT Print View

Yes that's why I corrected my previous post. Look up from the keyboard.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 20:21:36 MDT Print View

Per OP's WSJ link:



So we "only" spend 11% of our money on unneeded stuff -- doesn't look that bad -- except for the sobering fact that we now also have a paltry savings rate!! I am sure some cannot save because they simply don't earn enough -- but as a nation -- the "can't save cause we got bills to pay" is just an excuse -- simple as that!

Imagine if collectively, we cut our unneeded spending on stuff by half: 9 trillion total consumer spending x 11% unneeded spending x 50% cut = 0.5 trillion (or 500 billion).

Some might say that will implode our national economy. Maybe not. The shrinkage in consumption translates to both debt repayment and savings expansion. But the money won't just sit in our banks. They can be put to good investment use -- generating jobs in education and infrastructure (among other things) that can actually make our country even more competitive in the future!

OR -- we can choose "business as usual" -- keep on consuming like hogs while neglecting our savings and investments. And later, when our kids and grand kids ask us why their economy sucks so bad -- we'll just blame it all on Wal Mart and China (like some of our politicians are already doing).

Edited by ben2world on 04/23/2011 20:37:14 MDT.

Jeff Antig
(Antig)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Americans Buy Stuff They Don’t Need on 04/23/2011 23:24:17 MDT Print View

Maybe it is a matter of perspective. If I am in the forest 40 miles away from civilization, I will probably be close to needing a good pack, shelter, sleeping bag, stove, pot . . .

Right? :)