Monday, September 29, 2008

A Good Buy

One of my favorite sections in the Sunday Chicago Tribune is Home & Garden. For those who do not read the Trib or who live outside of the Chicago area, this section is full of helpful ideas on how to better manage your (drum roll, please) home and garden. Two of the most consistent themes in this section are the environment and conservation, and I can't remember the last time I didn't cut out an article from the section because it was especially helpful, just plain interesting or even inspiring. Yesterday there was a section on tote bags in a feature section called Hello, Good Buys. The pictures were nice and author Shaila Wunderlich obviously did a lot of work picking 5 durable and attractive bags. The recent rise of tote bags in response to those soon-to-disappear eco-disasters, the plastic bag, is a big step in the right direction. However (and you knew this was coming), here, in terms of Ramen noodle packs at $0.25 each, is what these suckers cost:

1. $25 - you could buy 100 Ramens for that
2. $24 - 96
3. $35 - 140
4. $65 - 260, $80 - 320
5. $145 - 580

I put this in terms of Ramen because we Americans (except for that top 1%) are getting poorer. Pretty soon we'll all be eating Ramen and not much else until they get around to inventing Soylent but that's another story. All this is a roundabout way of saying Those tote bags are too damned expensive!!!

At a *garage sale you can get a perfectly nice, durable canvas tote for anywhere from 10 cents to $1. I have many of them that I picked up for next to nothing. Sure, some of them have obnoxious advertising on them. That I'm a walking commercial for the latest miracle drug with nasty side effects doesn't bother me in the least. Who looks at my bag and thinks, "Gotta get some of that pharmacrap, stat!" And I have been lucky to find some that just have pictures, no ads.

If you really want to save money and are determined to do something to help the environment, go to a garage or yard sale. It's the ultimate in recycling and you won’t pay any sales tax. Now that's a real good buy.

*The Chicago Tribune has covered the subject of garage sales, usually in the spring before the season starts.

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