American Materialism

We were at the beach the other day and someone asked Jeff if his Columbia shirt was legal. At first I didn’t know what he was talking about because it wasn’t on my radar screen as a topic of conversation. He expected it to have cost hundreds of shekels. I told him it was $10 (which is equivalent to 40 shekels).

Coincidentally, the following op-ed came my way: “Pay People to Cook at Home.” It’s an asinine proposal because women (and men) who cook for their families are not employed by the state, so it’s another form of welfare. Regardless of how you feel about that, we really don’t need to increase the number of people who are dependent on support from the government.

The argument in the article was that people don’t have time or money to cook fresh food. Time is one thing–you have to manage your own, and all the government handouts won’t help that. But in terms of money, who ever said that Americans don’t have money? Only Americans.

Sometimes it takes living in another country to take the blinders off your eyes about American materialism. I’ve never been a materialistic person (and people who know me well can vouch for that, I hope) but there are things I thought were necessities that people here do without. I’m not talking about us personally because some things are not worth buying in the short term; I mean that the standard of living is simply lower. Here are some of the things that are considered luxuries in our neighborhood:

-A dishwasher
-A vacuum cleaner
-A clothes dryer
-Quality clothing (even jeans) at an affordable price–adults will splurge, but never for children who will outgrow them
-A second car
-Thick, solid, quality disposables (paper towels that don’t shred, plastic cups that don’t buckle, oh and forget about ziplock bags, they’re not even available)
-Red meat (factory-farmed here is the same price as grass-fed in America)
-Anything that would be sold on Etsy (lol)

I cook, but I’m working very part-time right now. It takes a lot of time to keep house when you don’t have a car, dishwasher, vacuum, dryer, etc. Most people cook (or eat out) one solid meal a day (lunch) and fill in the rest with cottage cheese, fresh produce–which is cheap and plentiful–and of course plenty of junk masquerading as cuisine.

-Abby

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2 thoughts on “American Materialism

  1. Interesting. It has long been true that in this country the 2nd (usually lower) income earner works to pay for the 2nd car, better clothing, a weekly housekeeper, daycare, meals out, and other necessities of working outside the home! The big problem comes when that 2nd income is needed for the mortgage. If one spouse is laid off, there is a crisis.

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