One of the joys of the local paper is the Classified ads section. In this Thursday’s Guardian there was on offer a “new unused toilet and hand basin”. As opposed to what? Or how about a “shower, brand new, still in the box very efficient”. How do they know it’s efficient? For £500 you could have a “walk in bath, excellent condition, installed August 2007, used twice.” Run that by me again will you. Used twice in ten months! What, did they decide it was too much of an effort?
“Hey this is no good. You walk in and the water only comes up to your ankles. Sell it; I’ll have a rub down like always.”
Or the “Nappy Wrapper”. And it’s yellow. So I googled that. Clearly I’m not in the market for baby and poos, otherwise I would have known that a “nappy wrapper” wraps and seals dirty nappies in an anti-bacterial film. I may be over fastidious but if I’m going to wrap up my baby’s poo I’d rather not use someone else’s discarded poo wrapper.
I remember the rag and bone man coming down our street once or twice a month. He had a horse and cart and a pair of scales. Anything was weighed, be it a bag of old clothes or some old copper pipes. I don’t think my mother sold him stuff because it was surplus. It would have to be broken beyond repair or else she needed a few shillings to tie her over.
Now many of us have more than enough. We don’t replace stuff because it’s worn out; we replace it because it’s not so new anymore. So 32” cathode ray tube TV bought 5 years ago is replaced by a 64” plasma screen model. The old 32” might migrate to the kid’s bedroom, to replace their old 22” but that has to go. So we recycle it, by taking it to the dump or selling it in the “Classified”.
A friend of mine replaces his car every two years. It’s something to do with it losing its maximum efficiency after 2 years, it looks dated and.... he can afford it. I find that strange ‘cause for me when you buy a car it becomes part of the family. It’s given a name, has its own toiletry, and its own place in the street. Each annual service is like a visit to the vet or doc’s; anxious pacing outside the garage wondering whether this year’s MOT will be its last, and fearing that heart stopping grinding is the last knockings.
I suppose I get my car owning habit from my parents. Three cars in 30 years, two of them bought second hand, and only got rid of when they died mid road, big ends scattered to the four winds.
My friend looks at my 12 year old Escort and shakes his head. He points out that what with global warming and the price of petrol I’m heading for catastrophe. He, of course, driving the latest in high efficiency, low polluting machines is not only contributing to saving the planet but also saving a packet in fuel.
I could point out that manufacturing his six cars in the 12 years I’ve owned one, has consumed much more fuel, created much more CO2 than mine. But I bite my lip. Without his new cars, I wouldn’t have my pre-owned second hand car. And any way with the price of petrol soaring there’ll be a ready market for cheap second hand gas guzzlers. And since I don’t drive that many miles a year, maybe I could treat myself to a pretty decent 3 litre German auto.