One of the scant joys of being back commuting is the occasional promotional giveaway of free things at the station. I hate commuting, especially now I’m a mum and it’s dead time, so the right free product can really lift my morning.
This morning I got a free bottle of water, which is really useful and normally I’d be delighted, but with all the recent coverage on the scourge of plastics, I actually felt a bit bad drinking it in work, where I could just have a glass of water.
This got me thinking about all the times I’ve taken the proffered freebie, even though I didn’t really want it but just couldn’t say no. Or in the mad rush to grab one I didn’t even see what it was until I’d moved away. Then they end up in the bin.
I remember one soya mousse giveaway where the fridge at work was packed full of them. People obviously put them there hoping someone else eat them, and ease their guilt about binning, but everyone had the same idea so eventually the bin is where they all ended up.
No matter how many times I end up not liking the product when I see a throng of people at the station I can’t help diving into the crush to get my share. My heart beats a little faster and I genuinely worry for a second they’ll run out and I’ll miss out. It’s like a low stakes gambling addiction. The outcome isn’t always a win, but the occasional payout keeps me coming back.
It’s the same at work conferences. If I see people walking round with good promotional pens or a nice leather folder I can’t relax until I’ve found the stand giving them out. Then I get home and go to put them in my desk only to realise there’s several already there that I’m not using.
The better the swag the harder it is to part with. My husband recently got a corporate gift of a lovely cooking apron. It’s good quality, but just not something either of us will use. I love the idea of me baking all day with my child helping and my apron on, but I can’t see it really happening. it will probably go in a drawer never to be used, but even though it cost us nothing it’s too good to get rid of.
Since we’ve had a baby storage space is at a premium. Who knew such tiny people come with so much stuff? (Everyone! They just forget in the excitement of pregnancy). Everything has to be kept out of reach of tiny grabby hands. When I’m getting us both ready in a morning I need to be able to find things quickly, so tidiness is essential with everything more or less in its place.
This means I’m often thinking about decluttering, so adding more unecessessary things in just because they are free is self-defeating. But chucking them out, recycling or even donating to a charity shop makes me feel like I am contributing to the rampant cycle of disposable consumerism that is damaging our planet.
I’m not well known for my will power. This is day 4 of my self proclaimed takeaway coffee free week, and I’ve already cracked and had my first cappuccino. But maybe it’s time I thought about the environment and exert some effort into not automatically diving into the throng for every giveaway. Although I heard they might have peach today..so maybe I’ll start tomorrow.