Two years ago I loaded my children into the car and drove to San Francisco to buy a bicycle. My wife and I had been talking about bicycles and wanting to ride them again for quite some time. I had purchased a beach cruiser from a local shop for her birthday and knew I had to get one for myself.
My first bike as an adult was purchased from a garage sale a week after purchasing the bicycle for my wife. It was and old thing that had been pieced back together from the remnants of other bikes. It rolled along fine enough. I had no connection to it and soon my eyes were wandering. I'd slow for garage sales. My browser would find it's way to bicycle websites. One day I came across Public Bikes and my jaw dropped. After the briefest of consultations with my wife the purchase was made and plans were set to go pick up my new ride.
After the purchase was made my wife made the comment to me that when I buy something, I BUY something. A little confused at first I asked her to clarify. She told me that I don't cut corners. I find what I need, I make sure its of good quality, and if I can afford it I buy it. I buy it when it isn't the most cost effective choice. I buy it because it is a quality product that will last me a long time.
Buying things is something that we all do. When I first was on my own away from home I was interested in the latest this or that. The shiniest toy, the newest device, the most of everything was my goal. As a young adult I now longer had someone telling me what I could or could not buy. So I bought. I borrowed and bought. I made more money and I bought some more. I saw something I liked and bought it. Something shiny out of the corner of my eye? Buy it. Spend spend spend.
Now, close to two decades after buying stuff what do I have that I value? I've got a box of correspondence that has moved with me. I have some photos. I have a tool chest. I have a few other items that would fall into the household tool category. I have a quilt that was made by my mother, another by my grandmother. I have a few pocket knives.
Looking at all of my purchases I find that the things of most value are the things that didn't come in a blister pack. They aren't the things that were made as one of one million. Noting this I've made the decision to change my buying habits.
I want to buy products that people have cared about. Products that have been designed well to fill a purpose. Not something that was designed to catch the brief and fleeting attention of someone with an open pocket book. I want to buy products that add value to my life. I want my money, which is a representation of my time and ability, to go towards products that are a reflection of the time and ability of another person.