Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Health over Wealth

Ever since my parent’s home got broken into I have had mixed emotions over how we value materialistic things in our society. My mother had an infatuation with useless trinkets (and I mean useless, for example, I received a crystal rooster for Christmas one year). I have noticed that there are people who place exceptionally high value on items that have no value outside of ornamental bragging rights. You can’t eat it, wear it, and you can barely even resell it for anything (if anyone is willing to take such useless junk off of you), yet many people treasure such items. I was very glad in a way to have so much “garbage” removed for us from my childhood home, yet when I did a cursory calculation of the “value” or rather the price she paid for the trash, I was very saddened by the monumental loss. The stolen “junk” could easily have paid for a second home. We are not a wealthy family yet she managed to squander huge amounts of money to satisfy a shopping addiction that I have been trying to get her to get treated.
My mother is ill. I am only now coming to grips with this and I am trying to learn to forgive her for all her faults as a mother.

She is not alone in her illness. I have seen it in others as well (mostly people from Hong Kong). A friend’s mother cries herself to sleep because she doesn’t have as much junk in her house as other people. Why is it that we have centres that treat destructive gambling addictions yet we don’t have centres that treat equally destructive shopping addictions. There are people that go tens of thousands of dollars into credit card debt in order to satisfy a desire for a designer handbags or sunglasses. I think it’s high time we put social service dollars into treating all forms of addiction and start recognizing the destructive nature of uncontrolled consumerism. Television adverts touting the ‘must haves’ of the season are certainly doing an injustice to many people. The bottoms lines of corporations are boosted by burgeoning consumer debt. It is time that we place shopping addictions in line with gambling addictions. My mother’s shopping addiction is threatening to tear apart my home yet I am powerless to do anything about it. As my father has put it, no matter what happens, at least we all have our health.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home