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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rory's Editorial Post of The Week- The Economic Impact of Fixing a $5 Chair

I have purchased possibly hundreds of chairs over my lifetime for next to nothing.  $5 is usually my limit to spend on old broken ones, and sometimes I am able to pick them up for free.  I like free.  Free is one of favorite things.   I have made a living at times picking up free stuff, fixing up free stuff, and reselling that same stuff for a tidy profit.  I do it all the time.  But the impact of fixing a chair is way more than putting a few dollars in my wallet.  Let's look at it...

If I buy a $5 chair at a garage sale from Ellen, that might be lunch money for her daughter at school on Monday.  By making that  purchase I just stimulated the economy (and the educational system) in a very small, but very effective way.  The money went straight from me to Ellen.  There was no middleman.  Ellen benenfited from the entire $5.  It is unlike a goverment program because  Ellen and I know where our money went.

As for me, I now have a chair that would have probably ended up in a landfill.  I know I can fix it and make it useable again.  It might even accidentally be cute when I am done with it.  So, it is one less chair taking up space at the city dump.

Once it is fixed, lets assume it is worth $50.  Let's also assume that  all it needed was some elbow grease, and no materials were used, to speak of.  That means my personal economy was just stimulated and now I can buy 10 more $5 chairs.  That is 10 more chairs that will never see a landfill.  How are we sounding so far?

It gets better.  If I sell 10 old chairs that I fixed up, that means that americans won't be buying 10 new chairs that were probably made in China.  It means there is less lead based paint being shipped here, along with less styrofoam, formaldehyde, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.,  not to mention that my fixed chairs are no doubt of better quality than those coming from China, and will last longer.

It gets even better.  I am just one guy.  I have a very humble blog with a little over 30 followers.  But suppose all 30 followers did the same thing I did, and fixed 10 chairs?  300 chairs makes a pretty big pile.  When I was a kid I once went to a school that had less than 300 chairs.  The potential impact of a $5 chair is huge.

Chairs aren't your thing?  Money doesn't matter to you?  Okay, how about quilts?  Think about this.  What if 30 members of your club, civic group, or church, got together and each of you made 10 quilts out of unwanted, free clothing?  That is 300 blankets that could be distributed to America's homeless.  Would 300 blankets make an impact? 

Many of you that are reading this post already understand the concept I am talking about.  In some respects I am probably "preaching to the choir".  So, I urge you to pass along this post, in an effort to help people understand what it means for americans to buy locally, to buy handmade, to repurpose, and to fix rather than buy new. 

Meanwhile, please let me know if I can help you by making this blog more valuable to it's followers.  Do you need a tutorial on a subject? have a question? a comment?  I am here to help.  Let's work together. 

And thank you for following The Greentiques Solution.



Sher said...

Well said, Rory!!! Bravo!!! I've found that any bit of info (tutorial or otherwise) is appreciated by someone. It might not always be beneficial to the same person but if we can help one person or save one piece from a landfill, then it's worthwhile! Enjoyed your tutorial on sanding the table veneer, BTW! ; )

Rory-The Greentiques Solution Guy said...

Thank you Sher. I appreciate your comments. Great picture of yourself you got there! Didn't I see you on an Etrade commercial?


Sophee-a Laroo Bijoux and Sheri too said...

Tried to follow your blog...for some reason it is not working. Or maybe U will see me as a follower 5 times...for every time I tried~lol

Love to see restorations and revamps....I would give Anything to do it for a living.

I think I am a junker for life now. Always was a bargain shopper and frequented discount stores.
My daughter is the "queen of thrift"....and I learned a lot from her. Amazing what our children can teach us.

lovin your blog :)

Rory-The Greentiques Solution Guy said...

Thank you sooo much for the kind remarks. There are quite a few "junkies" in and out of my little blog. I would be glad to have you be one of them. I am sorry you had an issue with the follow button. I am not sure what to tell you. I do know that I have had 3 more followers sign up this morning, so it was fine earlier. I am thinking it is a glitch of some kind, so pleeease try again a little later. Thanks again,

sharon said...

Hi Rory,

Thank you for your kind comments and for adding me to your blog roll, I have reciprocated with pleasure. Great article, this sort of fair principle is one we must pass down to our children, specially today when they are under increasing pressure to keep up with cosumer trends.

I'll be back

Rory-The Greentiques Solution Guy said...

Thank you Sharon, Glad to have you. Flattered that you like the article.

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

Amen! I couldn't agree more with everything you've said here. It's like I say in my shop, Buy vintage, it's the ultimate way to buy green.
The genuine article is so vastly superior to the foreign made knock-off (hello, Anthropologie!).

Great blog, happy to have found you!


Rory-The Greentiques Solution Guy said...

Hi There Anne, Glad you made it by. There are just so many reasons to buy vintage, to repurpose, and to fix. It's a very long list. thank you for your comments.
Spread the word.

Cindy Caraway said...

You know I'm a member of that "choir" but you can preach to me any day about the importance of re-using, re-cycling and re-purposing!