In a store I know, the owner decided to sell a particular set of t-shirts at extremely discounted rates. Reason being, there was an event coming up and last year, for the same event, free t-shirts were distributed. This time, however, since the economy wasn’t very strong, there were no free t-shirts being given. He had a noble thought of selling the t-shirts at discounted rates so that people with moderate incomes could afford them and make it for the event in those fancy t-shirts. Noble as the thought was, the store opened and people flocked in. He saw people buying shirts in 10s and 20s. And these were the seemingly well-to-do people. Curious, he asked one of them, “Sir, what is your plan with buying these 10 t-shirts?” The man replied, “These are being sold at throw-away prices. I thought I could just buy and keep them and if I ever want to gift or reward someone over the next few months or years, I could use them for that.” The store owner was shocked. With a well-meaning intent he had offered the discounts. However, most of the t-shirts got taken by the ones who already had and were buying only to hoard. Eventually, when the people who actually needed them came to the store, they were disappointed because they either did not have their sizes or the store ran out of stock.
When I heard this story, I wondered how most of our actions may be impacting the world around us similarly. Earlier, people used to save for a rainy day. However, nowadays, our saving has turned into a sort of hoarding and this very hoarding is bringing those rainy days closer to us. In the city that I live, around 40-60% of the apartments are lying vacant apparently. Owners have purchased apartments in order to save – one per every family member (and some even higher than that). However, they would need only one roof to stay at the end of a day. The others are for rent. The need is not so high though – be it for rent or for staying. The implications of this mindless buying or so called investments are huge – It is actually bordering on the lines of being a disease, a mass madness. The city is expanding on all sides; trees are being cut massively to make space for newer constructions. Global warming is increasing. Every species is endangered, including our own. This is just one such example of hoarding.
Let’s look around us and within our household. How many of the things that we have are things that we actually need and how much of it is unnecessary hoarding? Is there someone else who might need that more than us? Can we offer it to them, can we sell it? Can we make our surroundings lighter and brighter by getting rid of excesses? It’s not that we shouldn’t indulge at all. We may. However, let’s draw a line. A sanity check perhaps? Like they say, eat to live, don’t live to eat. How about acquire to live, don’t live to acquire.