What it’s like to not shop for a year.

December 2, 2008 | By | 2 Replies More

Judith Levine and her significant other decided to not shop for a year.   She wrote about her trials and tribulations in her book, Not buying It: My Year Without Shopping. She also wrote about it in Washington Post in an article titled, “Don’t Buy It.” Here’s an excerpt:

People can learn to live with less — happily. I know from experience. A few years ago my partner, Paul, and I spent a whole year not shopping. We bought nothing but necessities: basic groceries, Internet access, insulin for our diabetic cat. We forwent the rest: clothes, books, CDs, movies, restaurant meals.

When we described our project to friends, among their mixed reactions (terror, amusement, incredulity) was thanks. Many communicated an attitude the Germans should have a word for, meaning “admiration for an enterprise you are glad someone else is pursuing so you don’t have to.” And you don’t. The good news is, a little moderation can bring a lot of cheer.

What does one do for entertainment when decides to stop hemorrhaging money?

We had to get out of the apartment. So we walked to free concerts and the Brooklyn Public Library. We took in museums on free nights. We trawled the public sphere with gratitude and glee — but also with dismay, because the public sphere is in sorry shape.

For more thoughtful musings on this topic of stopping our wasteful ways, see this post at Owl’s Farm. I learned some important things, such as this:  “”If we stopped wasting food that could have been eaten, it would be the equivalent of taking one in five cars off the road.”  One can further explore the idea of food waste at a site called “Love Food Hate Waste.”  I realize that this post seems a bit meandering, but consider the mission statement of LFHW:

The Love Food Hate Waste campaign aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste. The campaign shows that by doing some easy practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.

Therefore, I seem to have come full circle . . .  Bottom line: Economic catastrophe brings opportunities!


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Category: American Culture, Consumerism, Economy, Environment, Food

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. This artist decided to wear the same brown dress over the course of one year:


  2. In this performance, I challenged myself to reject the economic system that pushes over-consumption, and the bill of goods that has been sold, especially to women, about what makes a person good, attractive and interesting. Clothes are a big part of this image, and the expectation in time, effort, and financial investment is immense.

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