Saturday, October 30, 2010

Netflix, I love you but it's time to say goodbye (at least for now.)

Today I put my Netflix account on hold. This stung because I love watching movies, and I think Netflix offers a great service at a great price. But this month there's at least one local play I want to see--Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Kato McKnickle--and my entertainment budget is limited. And just as I'd rather support local farmers than big agribusiness, I'd rather support local theatre than Netflix.

At the farmers market where I sold soap today, the vendor next to me was an author and former writing instructor of mine. Along with his books, he sells eggs from his free range chickens.

Beautiful, aren't they? We bartered soap for eggs and talked about solidarity economics. This was a term I'd never heard before, but it encompasses everything from worker-owned cooperatives to local currencies to social justice issues. In short, it's buying and selling with not just money, but also the greater good in mind.

Today is a short post because, having been a vendor at two different events today, I'm low on time. But I did want to briefly post that I bought more food: bananas, an avocado and some hazelnut milk (on sale) at the co-op. And I had my first wasteful impulse purchase of the week: a take-out cup of coffee. I bought it because my author friend said, "I'm going to Bean and Leaf. Would you like a cup of coffee?" And I felt like one of Pavlov's dogs. "Yes" flew out of my mouth before I was conscious of having made a decision. I even used a disposable paper take-out cup because my travel mug was full of soup.

On the other hand, Bean and Leaf is owned by friends of mine. They run a socially-responsible business, using compostable cups, and roasting organic, fair trade coffee. I'm sure I would have turned down coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

All of my driving today was to and from the events where I was a vendor.

Consumption Totals:
Food: $7.02
Coffee: $2
Bartered: one dozen eggs
Miles Driven: 3.5


  1. I've never used netflix - I've had good luck getting any movie I want to watch through my local library system, almost always at no cost. If they don't have something, they can generally get it through interlibrary loan. You might find you don't miss netflix if your library has a similar program.

    I thought I'd share my shopping trip today - with a couple disclaimers. The first is that this is not representative of my diet. I buy meats through a local butcher (spent $3.55 there yesterday), and any fruits and vegetables I don't grow myself are bought at a local fruit market (also visited yesterday). Today was a chain store, so you won't see those in this buy.

    The second disclaimer is that I focus less on the environment, more on the immediate needs of the local community. Being in the Detroit area, there's a lot of poverty and that's reflected in my priorities. I try to average providing about 3 meals a day for people outside my household.

    I spent $2.98 today, which was sad because I went out with one expired coupon and had a good one at home I didn't bring. The trip as planned should have cost $0.98 and I am still kicking myself over that.

    With that, I bought:
    - 3 half gallons of Smart Balance Milk (no growth hormones, higher in calcium and omega-3's than regular milk)
    - 4 packages of frozen pierogies
    - a can of pringles (Been years since I bought them but they were free and it was a splurge)
    - one cookie dough zone perfect bar
    - 2 cans of lowfat turkey chili (food bank donation)
    - 6 pounds of frozen turkey dinners with cranberry sauce, potatoes, etc. (food bank donation)

  2. That's an amazing, eye-opening amount of food to be able to buy for $2.98. Thanks for posting about it. Thanks, too, for reminding me that I'd planned on buying today's paper, partly to look through coupons (for the first time in many years.) Finally, one more thanks for the nudge towards helping to feed my neighbors. Although CT is wealthier than Michigan, we also have one of the greatest income disparities in the U.S., and New London is one of the poorest municipalities in CT. There's plenty of need here, too. And I haven't done my share to alleviate it.