That’s right, I want to shed light on the psychology consumerism; mainly the tendency to want “new” furniture, i.e. “viginal” products and furnishings because somehow, we think that’s better than anything old. When consumers buy new, they are excited. Feelings of being successful, on the cutting edge, fullilling desires for a well curated home with trendy items are all reasons to buy new. Old stuff in comparison has smells, stains, outdated fabric, the list of excuses can go on and on. I get it. It’s a great feeling to buy new and I don’t blame anyone for wanting new stuff. It’s hard for me to not be enticed by those slick well crafted ads from big box retailers, but I know a thing or two about purchasing older items that can rival your habit of buying new, i.e. “Virginal” never-been-used items. So I thought I’d share those tips with you before you go out and spend that hard earned money on something meretricious.
Meretricious: (Adj): A word meaning something that looks good on the surface but has no intrinsic quality and/or value.
Those large companies are betting on you falling for the bait. Call me when the cheap fabric wears out in a few months,……!
Recycling Isn’t Just For The Eco-Minded:
. Did you know that furniture, just like fashion, recycles looks every couple of decades? In the furniture world, it’s usually about every 30 years. All one has to do is look at any successful big box retailer selling home furnishings nationwide to see that many of the furniture designs aren’t new. If you’re over 30, you probably grew up with some of those items showcased in fancy catalogues. They just have a new coat of color on them so to speak. But what consumers don’t know is that in fashion, how garments are made is still roughly the same. In the furniture industry, practices have changed dramatically; all in the name of mass production and profit margins that need to be met. What does that mean? It means you’re paying a higher price for a chair today that looks exactly like a chair made 30 years ago when quality standards were much higher and profit margins were less. Ok, so the chair you bought new today is gray in color and the old version is brown,….ever heard of painting the chair? Maybe new upholstery? You could save yourself some hard earned dough, keep the quality furniture and still get the trendy look of the moment.
Have we lost our creativity? Nope, at least not in the smaller realm of artisans and craftsmen making exceptionally well made and innovative furnishings. That industry is alive and brimming with ideas but they are overshadowed by big box businesses that have large budget campaigns and rely heavily on what is now known as the “Re-Issue” of iconic furniture design. Talk about hitting the easy button, and the consumer falls for it religiously.
We can thank companies like Design Within Reach for this burgeoning trend. Now everyone has an Eames chair in their house and, well, it’s not so special anymore is it? Considering your neighbors down the street have the same darn chair. Lots of retailers are getting on board with this trend, because it’s just plain easier to sway consumers on the tried sand true even if it lacks imagination. The goal is profits for these companies, not originality. Mental Injury: you’ve probably just paid twice to three times more for that new Eames chair new than finding an original version. Insult To Injury: the construction of the new one, well, it’s sub-par……..but it’s new. Virginal. No butt’s been in it except yours and that’s all that matters right? Call me when the wood joints come loose in a couple of months,..!
What’s the saying? “Those who haven’t lived and survived the bruises of life are void of character and possibly real beauty.” I had a grandmother who was the quintessential funny lady. Her legendary jokes and upbeat personality had people guffawing everywhere she went. She was magnetic; you were drawn in every time. By the end of a day with grandma, your sides hurt from laughing but you didn’t care, the experience of being around her was more important than anything. What most people didn’t know was that my grandmother had deep wounds and dark secrets, that in today’s age, are nothing to be ashamed of, but back in her growing up years, she was practically exiled for her mistakes. Tragedy and pain make for some of the funniest people around. She acquired dents and dings and it was those things that made her more valuable as she grew into an adult and finally into my super hilarious grandmother. I could never think of replacing her with a “new” version of grandma,..it just wouldn’t be the same. But we do this with our furnishings constantly – not realizing that what we are throwing away has more built in quality than what we are getting new. So I’m going to challenge your way of thinking by telling you to do this:
Replace the word “new” with “new for me”
By changing your mindset on what “new” is, and opting to purchase well made quality items despite being a little older or worn around the edges you will start to understand what quality in furniture is. Don’t let a dent or ding scare you. If it’s been around for 50+ years, it’s probably made to last and not fall apart anytime soon. By opting for the “new for me” approach, you can start to realize what you’re really purchasing are things with character. Just like my grandmother had. I don’t have my grandmother as she passed away a long time ago but I wish I did. They don’t make them like that anymore.
Buy quality, buy character, but something that’s had a good life, something with a soul,…just like you!