Gone are the days…

The area where I live used to be all sugar cane plantations and farms.  My great grandmother owned one of them.  There must have been vast amounts of land as far as the eye could see.  Now, it’s strip mall after strip mall of redundant stores, fast food places, and abandoned buildings.   I often drive by “Coming Soon” signs and I have a brief hope that it’ll be something that breaks the suburban mold, like an independent bookstore or a coffee shop.  But no, we are all doomed for yet another mattress store, cell phone outlet, or mega-gym.  The church down the road is building a new, bigger and better church right next door to their current digs.  I am hoping they don’t do what most retailers around here are doing, which is just leaving the old building sitting there unused.  When did the need for NEW and BIGGER overtake improving what you already have?

I read recently that it doesn’t even make sense to take a vacuum cleaner into a repair shop anymore; a new vacuum is often the same or less than the cost of the repair.  I remember being a child and accompanying my mother a few times a year to the vacuum repair shop, the sewing machine repair shop, the Sears repair center, and many other places like that.  Of course she couldn’t simply Google the problem, order the part online, and fix it herself.  The idea of replacing a broken lawn mower with a brand new one (let alone hiring a lawn crew), probably didn’t even enter into the equation.  Thirty years ago, people made more things with their own hands.  You couldn’t just hop in the car (gas shortage!) and zip over to Target for loads of unnecessary (but fun) plastic items.

Sigh.  I like all the modern conveniences.  I can see we have come a long way from farm life.  I just wish we as a society were more responsible and resourceful.


4 thoughts on “Gone are the days…

  1. I agree. I find it sad that everything is now disposable and nothing is expected to last for more than 10 years. It is so easy in our world to buy new but no one will fix the old. I worry that it pushes us all to be relentless consumers and makes our kids slaves to the culture of consumerism by making them want things that are “cool” and “hip”. We always seem to want new things and cannot enjoy what we have. Sigh.

  2. at the same time, these are the very situations that drive some people to come up with new and creative ways to recycle, upcycle, or reuse items. so it’s hard to see it as all bad or all good. in the words of the philosopher mike tomlin–it is what it is. just think if someone bought the old church next door to the new church and made it a cool community center, or a brewery (which seems to happen all the time in pittsburgh), or a recording studio. some people wouldn’t have the funds to create such a place from scratch, but they have the opportunity to pursue their dreams because someone else wanted something new and bigger. so i’m torn a bit. yes, blatant and forced consumerism is a drag, but sometimes it provides unexpected opportunities. (i say that from the heart of strip mall central)

  3. reminds me of BuyNLarge in Wall-E. are we destined to have mounds of trash everywhere b/c we waste so much? and don’t get me started on food waste, i mean at my very own house!

  4. I remember making many trips to the vacuum repair shop with my mom. Our filter queen lasted 20 years. It is sad how people just throw things away without blinking

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