Despite celebrating love for at least two and a half millennia since Valentine of Rome was alive and kicking, the vast oceans of heart-melting love poems, combined with all the enduring love songs that have circulated the planet’s air-waves a zillion times ever since, there is still a clear shortage of love in the air.
We are naturally drawn to making love, but what about the love for making? The love for craftsmanship? The appreciation and affection for the producers who have made the products we supposedly love? You may adore the items you purchase for the way they look or function, but is there true love beneath the surface?
The industrial revolution and the very basic principles of mass-production have smashed the product lifecycle romanticism we once had into pieces. So how can we inject new romance into a broken marriage?
How about holding an imaginary or secret wedding ceremony each time you buy a product? Fair enough, you may not want this thing for life, so how about a little engagement ritual? After all you do make an ownership commitment with the stuff you buy, you’d anticipate undivided attention, and expect it to be faithful. But does it come from a ‘good family’? Any gene mutations I should be concerned about? Will it die prematurely? Will I discover any hidden facts throughout our relationship, such as toxic substances I'd much rather not get near to?
This reminds us of the striking photos by Gregg Segal (no, unfortunately not a relative) of families (mostly couples) lying semi-buried by their very own waste. After all, we are what we consume.
Buying pre-production fashion samples, and pre-loved products is one good way to preserve product lifecycle romanticism and in many cases it works really well for items such as clothes, books and furniture. But perhaps not as ideal for home appliances that lose their energy efficiency ratings as soon as the following model is out, nor electronics that become incompatible before your next birthday. Pre-loved shoes are another tricky product to consider, as they tend to adapt to the individual foot shape over time, and wear out in a certain way according to the wearer’s specific walking pattern - not to mention the whiff you get from good old sweaty bacteria.
Whether you are single or married, may the love for your own stuff go deeper; consider looking into the history of the products you buy, how they were made, who has made them, were the makers treated fairly with care and respect, and ultimately if they were made with love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sven and the Po-Zu team