The Compact: Bay Area Alternative Consumption


Thank goodness there are so many approaches to dealing with consumerism and sustainability. Buy Nothing Day and YouthXchange are a couple that we've covered (in addition, of course, to featuring the "hippest" eco-wares ourselves). Enter The Compact, a group who pledge to only acquire from thrift shops, Craigslist, freecycle.org, eBay and flea markets in 2006. The Bay Area bunch named themselves in allusion to the Mayflower pilgrims' zeal and support one another in a virtual Plymouth Rock sort of way with a blog and Yahoo! Group. My favorite part of the Chronicle article about them confirms my experience as a consumer: once implanted the desire to shop cannot be eradicated, only channeled in less- and non-harmful ways. From the article:

[T]he main advantage of being in a group is "you can brag to someone," said Boyd.

Perry agreed.

"After a while you get this bravado. You want to brag more and more," he said. "I found a Razor scooter for $15 at Thrift Town. That was great, but it doesn't top the free sewing machine I got on Craigslist. The stakes just keep getting higher."

Perry, who said he loves to shop, went into withdrawal the first few weeks of entering the Compact. For many people, shopping is a recreational and social activity that almost transcends consumerism. Boyd described it as an urge to "line the nest."

"But after a few weeks the buzzing in your head subsides," Perry said. "Although if I continue to shop crazily at thrift stores, is that any better?"

He thought about it for a moment.

"I think it is."

Alternative Consumption: all about sublimation? For some of us, for sure. Via tipster Dave Silvester :: The Compact

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