Flea markets, garage sales, consignment shops, and antique dealers have a lot in common. Each of them provide a means for dealing with old things.Flea Market 2

Planned obsolescence causes many items that we own to end up for sale in flea markets and garage sales. These are things that are still functional but have lost most of their value because a new and improved model has been developed. If they don’t sell, we give them to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or set them out for the garbage collector.

Goodwill Industries

Furniture, clothing, sports equipment, jewelry, and other possessions that still retain value are often marketed through consignment shops where we get a portion of the sales price. This revenue may be used to replace these older items that are still serviceable and in good condition.

Occasionally we hear of someone discovering that some piece of furniture, a home decor item, or a painting is worth much more than they expected or might have paid for it. Television shows like the Antiques Road Show fuel our hopes of finding a treasure among our possessions. So we hold onto things that are antiquated (useless) hoping one day they will be considered antiques (timeless) and make a fortune from selling them.

antiques 2

Of course, there is always the option of being frugal enough to use things until they wear out. Then we can with clear conscience replace them with the latest model. Sometimes minor repairs are all that is needed to prolong the useful life of an item. Another possibility is to find new uses for an item or to upgrade it so it retains it’s worth.

But that defies the principles of our throw-away society.

We are trained to be wasteful consumers based on the messages we’re confronted with daily. Media pressure makes it difficult to be satisfied. It seems that everything is constantly being improved. Technological advancements add features to everything from automobiles to home appliances to office equipment that expands their capabilities. In an affluent society like ours, we are tempted to always have the latest and greatest. Being able to pay cash for it is not considered a prerequisite. You can use a credit card or one of many options that allow you to have it now and pay for it later.

Consumerism and materialism are prevalent attitudes in our world. Our culture tells us that everything is temporary and disposable. Not just things but morality and relationships as well. Timeless principles are often swept aside as out dated and irrelevant. People are even considered disposable as well. When they have served their “useful purpose” they can be devalued or discarded.

Pope Francis 1

Pope Francis has frequently spoken about a “throwaway culture” in which unwanted items and unwanted people, such as the unborn, the elderly, and the poor, are discarded as waste.

God, save us from ourselves. Help us to see the real worth of things and of people. Help us to differentiate between the eternal and the temporal.

Jamie Jenkins