‘Thin’ televisions and our out-of-control consumerism


I can’t give my television away.

Granted it’s seen better days, about 20 years worth of them, but it still functions well, with a tube that has access to the best and worst contemporary TV has to offer.

When I bought a new television — in part because I was dismantling the behemoth entertainment center that housed the old one — I offered the old one to relatives and friends, organizations, and anybody on Facebook I know — all 983 of my virtual-world connections. Nope, no one wanted it.

As I write this, it’s sitting at the curb, side by side with the entertainment center, beat-up sofa and a fairly nice chair. Tomorrow is bulk pickup day in my neighborhood. I suspect the TV will make its way to electronics heaven.

As my mother says, “Everyone wants ‘the thin ones.’”

I thinks that’s indicative of our culture. Everyone, regardless of income, assets, or financial well-being (or freebie status, in this case) wants what’s the latest, newest, best, most-seen-on-television everything.

I admit, I’m just coming into the 21st century in some ways. Though solidly middle class, I just got cable (beyond antenna service) in the last month. Wifi, too. I finally bought a “grown-up” car two years ago, after driving what I thought of as a “starter” car for 13 years. I live in a modest home in a nice town. No McMansion. Not even a hint.

We are all entitled to do what we want with our own money, of course. But I wonder if our out-of-control consumerism (and I’m guilty, too, if for nothing else than perfume and earrings!) ever will stop. And I wonder what we could be doing with our finances if it does.

Patricia Quigley is a freelance writer.