Why are we no longer buying things to last us a lifetime?

History

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It’s becoming more apparent that newer generations are buying less long-lasting items, such as dishes and furniture, that will last them a lifetime.

New Mexico State University professor David LoConto said the change has been a long time coming, as we are becoming a part of the so-called “throwaway culture.”

Professor LoConto explained that this evolution began in the 18th century, but possibly even earlier. He said that technology and mass production created an evergoing cycle of desires that amplify with every purchase.

“We want more, we want it faster and we want it quicker,” said LoConto, explaining how this new consumer culture works.

Kelly Wesley, owner of an antique store Lord and Lady Apothecarium in Central El Paso, said she still has people coming in and looking for things that remind them of their family members that have passed away.

She started collecting antiques several years ago after she purchased her first antique tea cup.

She recognized the history behind every item and continued her pursuit of interesting old things.

Now, she believes, younger generations are looking for cheap things that can be easily replaced and moved from one location to another.

Professor LoConto said that the new way of social media advertising feeds our desires and creates new ones by showing us what we want based on personal information.

He emphasizes that the foundation of American culture is based on the individual, which also affects the way we think about the future and what we are going to leave behind.

Both Kelly and LoConto agree that family tradition and the way we are raised affects the way we think about heirloom items or if we think about it at all.

LoConto said he is curious to see how purchasing habits have changed during the pandemic and if that change will be permanent.

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