Need Versus Greed (or How to be a Loving Consumer….)

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash
need versus greed
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Today I had to throw away some food.  It’s not that unusual in itself but it got me thinking. Worse – it was fish so it meant that a living creature had been killed purely to end up in the bin.  It didn’t seem a great justification for its death. Being on holiday in France a major highlight is the totally sensory experience of a French market – smells, sounds, bright fruits and vegetables and so many different and appealing things to eat! Unfortunately we became victims to greed and bought far more than we could possibly hope to consume.

It got me thinking about ‘Need’ versus ‘Greed’. ‘Greed’ is such an emotive word, like ‘gluttony’ or ‘over indulgence’. It seems a bit sanctimonious to be lecturing about greed – I like an extra bit of pavlova as much as the next person. But is there a difference between needing something and just wanting it. Is it ok to just want it?

Photo by Pratik Chauhan on Unsplash
Photo by Pratik Chauhan on Unsplash

I listened to a clever man (a priest actually) discussing this topic recently. His view was that there is, of course, genuine need. We need food and water, we need clothing to keep us warm.   His suggestion was that this turns to greed when we don’t value or appreciate the things we are consuming….. So eating a third helping of dessert when we already feel full and sick, buying food we don’t need just to throw it away (like my fish..), buying clothes we won’t wear more than once because they are cheap or fashionable. It can become an addiction.  The recently launched ‘True Cost’ Movie ( which explores the fashion industry, stated that a serious, negative fallout from ‘Fast Fashion’ is that consumers feel that they need to constantly buy in order to be happy. Scary thought.

When I discussed this with my supplier/friend Shailini from India recently, I learned that Mahatma Ghandi had also explored the subject. It seems that many great thinkers and religious figures have tried to teach us to value and be grateful for what we have and to wisely choose what to own. However our society, especially in the western world, pushes and pushes us to buy more, to buy cheap and disposable and not to value our belongings at all. Your look is last year? Update your whole wardrobe. Your car has done a few miles? Maybe it’s time to trade up. Technology? Well it’s super important to upgrade your phone/tablet/PC regularly. Progress is a wonderful thing but sometimes just because we can have something doesn’t necessarily mean that its a good idea.

need versus greed Where Does It Come From? ethical clothing organic childrens clothes

At Where Does It Come From? our ethos is about loving and appreciating everything you buy. We believe that if you understand how your clothes are made then you will love them more. If you love them more you will wear them more and feel great too! In a previous blog ‘Can we love our clothes like we love our carrots?‘ I explored the idea of building a relationship with your clothes. Sounds a bit ‘right on’ but I firmly believe that if you know who made your clothes (and that they were treated as they should be) and how they made them (not contributing in any negative way to the environment) that you will have a greater regard for those clothes. If you need to buy – it’s your decision, don’t be pushed into it or out of it – make a conscious choice about what you choose and buy something you love, not just the latest fad. If you have a good relationship with your clothes you not only look fabulous but you will feel fantastic too – after all you are going out in your best friend…..

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