Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Consumerism

I spent my Tuesday lunch break on the Trek Project One website building and pricing different bicycles. I have done that in the past, but this time I might actually buy something. As I consider buying a third bicycle, albeit far better than my other two, I feel a little evil. There are so many other things in the world I could spend my money on. Furthermore, I get excited by not spending money. I still don't have cable or Internet at my apartment. My preferred vehicle is a 1993 Toyota Previa with 270,000 miles on it.

It seems to me like a really nice bicycle is a waste while people around the world starve and die. I have a friend from college and he would say, "I never want to have any money." The meaning is that there are people in need who could use his money. It took me awhile to understand that, but it has made an impact on my life.

Related to the title, I overheard a conversation recently between two people complaining about the high price of insurance and taxes on "old" luxury cars, specifically the years 2002 and 2004. In some ways it was appalling and in more personal ways it was representative of my life and specifically buying a new bicycle.

Five months ago I was passing the year mark for unemployment. It is amazing how quickly the money seems to be changing me. Because now it is just a bicycle, that once I buy it I never have to pay more for it. Next year it's a car with gas, insurance, and taxes. Then it's a house. Then it's a pool in the backyard and a huge tv, a newer car, a second property, and an endless list of material junk.

On the other hand, my bicycle will contribute to dozens of peoples paycheck and employment, I will surely ride even more, and if regular use of my bicycles allows me to delay buying a car for a year or more, then it would be worth it. Plus Trek gives their frames a lifetime warranty, so basically this is a one time, until I either do Ironmans or am in my 40s, kind of purchase.

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