“Buy Me Once”

I was just going to share this article I saw on Facebook but as I was writing I realized I had so much to say that I decided a blog post would be more appropriate.

This one goes out to my mom and all the other sellers and collectors of Henn products and everyone who likes “old” stuff that was built to last.

Someone I went to college with liked this article on Facebook so through the magic of social media it came up on my news feed:

The Rise of “Buy Me Once” Shopping. 

It’s an interesting article about “Buy me once” shopping and how one woman is creating a website for home goods, clothing, etc…that are built to last a life time. It’s a great idea and I’m not criticizing it at all but my thought was:

Remember when all shopping was “buy me once” shopping?

The first thing that came to mind while reading this was Henn. My mom sold Henn for like over 20 years. They were a handmade basket and pottery company in Ohio. Their products were not only pretty but useful and built to last. They, and other companies like them, closed during the recession in part because of the idea the article talks about of “designed obsolescence”.  I don’t know when it started but people really bought  into the “new is better” and “you need the latest and greatest” mentality. At some point people stopped buying products that would last and instead opted for things that were cheaper and less durable so that they could replace them when they *gasp* went out of style!

No one used to care about this. People bought things and used them until they broke then if they could repair them they would and keep on using them!

A couple years ago my grandparents’ house was hit by lightning. It caused the clock/doorbell combo in the kitchen to stop working. It was installed when the house was built in the 1950s. They went to a couple different places and no one could repair it but how great is it that it hung in the kitchen and WORKED since the 1950s? I doubt my grandma looked up sometime in 1970 and was like “Is this clock/doorbell combo still hip?” I bet she was more like “Oh look it’s 4:00.” It told time, it chimed when the doorbell rang, it looked nice. Who cares?

I grew up with Henn products. They survived a lot of abuse from my sister and me. They were what my mom cooked with and what we used everyday and what we still use every day. When I get married my mom gave me my own set she was collecting for me.  We have Henn or a vintage/thrift finds in our kitchen because these are the things that last. We also got a lot of new stuff when we got married and I am curious to see if the crockpot I got in 2010 will be around in 30 years like the one my parents got when they got married.

I have a table in the family room that belonged to my great grandmother. It still had an O’Neil’s tag on the bottom. It looks pretty cool and vintage. I have another table that belongs to my husband’s great uncle, it looks even better. In the same room I have an Ikea table we bought 3-4 years ago. It looks terrible.

I’m really not sure what my point is. I’m glad that people are adopting this “buy me once” mentality but I guess I am a little sad that we ever got away from it in the first place. Why did we? I think it was for status. Somewhere, we got this idea that we needed everything to be new and updated so that we stayed fashionable but who cares? I think we were trying to impress others, to show off that we could afford to redecorate whenever we wanted because that’s what advertising told us to do. I guess making responsible choices is becoming cool again?


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