Unconsumption or Lloyd Dobler?

Lloyd prepares to recycle his boombox at a nearby ReStore. Observe how the wheels on Mr. Cart mimic the speakers on his boombox. 

For anyone who ever was bored, in high school, and living within two miles of a parking lot, an upside-side down shopping cart may bring back memories. The Unconsumption project, though, humbly requests you put this logo on anything you repurpose–like plates, or earrings.

Is it yuppy to brand a DIY movement? Is it possible they’re afraid to use the word “conservation” because it sounds like “conservative”? It’s possible. But their explanation does show deep, deep wells of earnestness:

We love the idea of Mr. Cart as a one-symbol stand-in for the idea of creative repurposing, smart consumption, and enjoyable upcycling.. Sprucing up something you own by “rebranding” it with this logo is a beautiful manifestation of the spirit of the Unconsumption project.

Who am I to deny Unconsumption their italics? Maybe I’ll put a sticker of Mr. Cart on a shopping cart during my next trip home to Madison.

Of course, this all raises the question: What is Unconsumption?

Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a service like Freecycle (or Craigslist, Goodwill, or Salvation Army) to find a new home for the functioning DVD player you just replaced, rather than throwing it in the garbage.

Unconsumption is not about the rejection of things, or the demonization of things. It’s not a bunch of rules.

Unconsumption is an idea, a set of behaviors, a way of thinking about consumption itself from a new perspective.

Where before have I seen such sincerity? Oh, that’s right. Lloyd Dobler from the 1989 Cameron Crowe movie Say Anything:

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

Luckily, we’re allowed to consume several brands of idealism.


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