Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This is a news story from KCET in Southern California about businesses that do trashouts - the gathering of remaining belongings from foreclosed homes. This video includes sound. It is part of a larger news story.

I was struck by the sentiments of the workers. They are remorseful and respectful of the objects left behind. After all, the workers are reaping the rewards of someone else's misfortune, at least in the short run. In our consumer-driven economy, stuff has been imbued with meaning because we are taught that the accumulation of goods is an expression of our individual sense of self. Pocketbooks, sofas, cars, cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, and shoes are all expensive consumer goods that come in a variety of colors and styles so that we can live with things that truly are an extension of us. Or is it that we are an extension of the stuff?