I'm a big fan of upcycling and I love to try my hand at it from time to time. Sometimes I get good results; sometimes not so much. But, I think it's important to try.
It should be no surprise, then, that I am a fan of all kinds of media that promote upcycling: magazines, books, and TV shows. In the US we have a show called "Flea Market Flip" that pits amateur upcycling teams against each other for prize money. It's interesting for a few episodes until you realize that there's not that much variation in what the teams produce. A bench made from 2 or more chairs. A mini bar made from almost anything. Reupholstering, sometimes with questionable choices of fabric. Lighting with character but maybe lacking in functionality. Lots of spray paint. I used to be a regular watcher but I'm taking a break hoping that someone will ban mini bars and chair benches.
In the UK they have a show call "Money for Nothing." There are no amateurs in this show. A professional upcycler approaches people at a recycling center to claim three items for transformation. She then finds other professional upcyclers -- artisans -- to transform the items, usually at considerable cost, prior to selling them. And most of the time, the items do sell at a profit. This is not a how-to program. But it does demonstrate the value of things that we commonly toss into a land fill. Furthermore, although most of us will never be able to accomplish what these artisans do so routinely, we could hire these people to transform our tired and worn out items.
Both TV shows will make you look at your household items in a different way and, maybe, think twice before consigning them to a landfill.
In the 21st Century, we need to reverse this trend and change our thinking about what we consider to be waste. Upcycling can be one part of the plan.
Today I find myself deeply disappointed with my fellow WalMartians. It seems that many of you don't know a marvelous thing when it kisses you on the lips. The result being, said marvel is taken away, never to return.
Case in point: Scan and Go shopping at my local WalMart.
I have been in love with this new WalMart feature from the beginning. What's not to love? You take your reusable shopping bags into the store, grab a hand held scanner, cruise the aisles, scan and bag your items on the go. Then, when you're done shopping, up to the checkout to pay. No more de-carting your goods only to bag and re-cart them. No more eco-hostile only marginally useful plastic shopping bags (please!). And, you have the added benefit of seeing a running total as you do your shopping. WOW!
But, apparently, some of you couldn't resist the temptation.... "Who's to know," you asked, "whether I scanned everything in my bags?" The answer is of course, generally, no one. They do random audits but for the most part, it's an honor system. Which is fine for honorable people.
Sad to say that WalMartians, at least the ones in my area, are without honor. As of this weekend, the scanners are gone. Too much shop lifting, was the reply when I asked why. Apparently inexpensive isn't good enough; you have to have it free. Furthermore, I've heard rumors that people actually tried to return goods for which they didn't pay!
In addition, the self check is being more heavily monitored for the same reason. "Smile! You're on camera."
Those of you who have stolen because no one prevented it, shame on you. Those of you who steal as a way of life, you are deeply flawed individuals and need psychological counseling. All of you should be aware that the result of significant shop lifting is almost always price increases. So, not only will WalMart make it a bit more difficult for you to rob them but they will make sure we all pay for your crimes.
Thanks for the price increases.
Thanks for the loss of a very wonderful shopping feature.
Please, in the future, shop somewhere else; I cannot afford to buy your groceries for you.
Thus far my blog posts have been limited to fairly innocuous topics. This one may stir a few people up. At least, I hope so.
This weekend I've seen several groups standing on street corners or holding "yard" sales soliciting donations for their cause. The one that finally got my bucks was a "feed the children" food drive outside a supermarket in Weatherford, TX. As I walked toward the entrance, a young girl, obviously uncomfortable with the situation, accosted me, explained what they were trying to do, and handed me a short shopping list of preferred food donations. I thanked her and went on into the store.
I did my shopping, and decided to purchase a couple of items for the food drive -- mac & cheese in a box and canned chicken. Then I went over to the bakery and bought a box of lemon cookies for the volunteers.
Today was a chilly and blustery day in this part of Texas. This kind of fund raising is always difficult as so many people are not open to your message. Many people are just plain rude about it. But in poor weather, it's also physically uncomfortable and these volunteers, who could be doing something else with their Saturday, deserve some reward for their efforts.
As I exited, I handed the donations to the adult at the table and then presented her with the cookies for the volunteers. She was genuinely surprised and, I hope, pleased.
I've heard many people complain about fund raisers:
"Well, if I gave to everyone who wants me to contribute, I'd be bankrupt."
No one is asking you to contribute to every charitable organization or every fund raising event. Just find one or maybe two that you can get behind and believe in and support them in any way you can. In my case, my total out of pocket today was $15 because I bought the multi-packs of mac & cheese and canned chicken as well as some nice bakery fresh cookies. I could have purchased less. I might have purchased more. But today, that was what I was comfortable with given my financial situation.
My point is, give. We all need help sometimes. And we are all in a position to help, sometimes. Do what you can, when you can, and don't forget to thank the volunteers who give their time to make the fund raising happen.
This series is fun and informative. Even though I lived through much of the events discussed, I don't have much memory of what was going on in the toy world. I suppose, those of us not in the industry probably don't know all that much about the design and marketing of popular toys. This series provides some insight.
Watch. Learn. Enjoy. And look around you at the toys in your house.
Of course, all Jackie Chan movies have a happy ending and this is no exception. You just have to watch and see how everything comes together in the end.
Definitely on the re-watch list.
Finally At Last
Happily Never After
Thru Kitchen Window
Skeleton in Closet
410 Pounds of QuikRete
Desire and Love
Bird Feeder of Dreams
Tribal Bugs n Leaves
Curly & TheGreenPoodle
My Funny Life
The Ranch (NetFlix)
TV ... Upcycling
Lost In Space
The Toys that Made Us
The Spy Next Door
A Wrinkle in Time