Do you remember your first kiss?

Do you remember your first kiss?
Do you remember your first kiss?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The day I renounced rampant consumerism

I'm reminded of the time when I renounced rampant consumerism, because of Christmas. It's an apt reminder and an apt time of the year, so I'm happy to share it with you all.

Back in 1995, cable was being laid all over our town. Leaflets were regularly pushed through our door telling us about the benefits of cable television and promising instant access to many new TV channels. Dates were promised about when the service would go live. I contacted the company (Birmingham Cable) and made an appointment for the rep to visit us (a necessity if you wanted to sign up). The rep duly arrived and got me all excited with his promises of new channels, clearer signal, and no need for an aerial. He said, that if I signed the DD that minute, he could get the necessary cabling work completed before Christmas, so that we could see all these new channels over the Xmas period. Wow, was I excited! All this for only £10 per month! (plus another £10 a month to shift my line rental from BT to cable).

Men came and dug up our garden. A cable was duly laid to our lounge. Another man successfully installed a box under our TV, and carried out all the necessary wiring. All this was completed by December 20th. I was so looking forward to this Xmas! A Christmas with 42 channels! Not just the 4 that I'd become used to, but 42!

Well, I'm going to cut a very long story short here by pointing out something that dawned on me by New Year's day. Xmas was no different whether you had 4 channels or 42! Basically what we had was 4 channels churning out the usual (newish, generally watchable) Christmas fayre, and the other 38 churning out complete and utter tripe - repeats, repeats of repeats, American repeats, repeats of old American shows that I certainly would never have watched the first time they came around and more old, old American films than even I could count. And 100s and 100s of advertisements. Complete and utter rubbish. Taught me a great lesson - more does not equal better. In fact more choice generally leads to a dumbing down of standards, so more in effect, means less. I cancelled the 38 channels on the 2nd January (had to pay for another 6 months as I was locked into a contract) but realised that consuming more is definitely worse than consuming less. Consumerism - yuk!

I now consume as little as possible, especially on the TV front.