Friday, April 24, 2009

Becoming Less Needy In A Time Of Need

An interesting new poll is out from the Pew Research Center that asks people what things they really NEED. Not what they enjoy, but what they NEED. Not surprisingly in these austere times, folks are finding they need less of pretty much everything. Take a look at this chart:

This poll smacks of "different strokes for different folks", doesn't it? For example, I would definitely put "TV" on my must-have list, and I think my wife would kick me out the door before she'd lose the television. Yet, my Facebook friend, Ellen, got rid of her TV years ago, and says she catches all of the shows she needs to see on her computer. She also lives in Manhattan, and has not driven a car in six years, so I guess she doesn't need one of those, either.

The thought of not having a microwave oven has never occured to me, although I suppose I could do without one if I had to. I can dry my clothes outside, and I can wash the dishes in the sink. So I guess need really IS relative, isn't it?

I find it fascinating and kind of obscene that people are only now coming to the realization that they don't really NEED so much stuff after spending the past decade gorging ourselves on as many consumer goods as we could cram into our homes. In many cases, we even built and bought larger homes just to hold all of our stuff. George Carlin certainly knew what he was talking about in that regard:

Some folks who are smarter than me believe America is now heading towards a period of relative modesty... a world where lavish living would be seen as kind of tacky.... or maybe that's just spin control to justify the fact that many of us have less money than we used to.

I can't honestly say that I've had to make a whole lot of sacrifice, even though I've been without fulltime work for more than a year. Those days of austerity may be coming, and sooner than I'd like to think. But somehow, if the Joneses next door are making do with less stuff, I think it will be easier to get by myself.

But I'm telling you right now - the air conditioning stays!

No comments: