Friday, March 07, 2014

Former Chatelaine publisher Rev. Lee Simpson tries a year of buying nothing

Photo: Ingrid Bulmer, Chronicle Herald
Lee Simpson, who was the publisher of Chatelaine magazine for 16 years before becoming a retired United Church minister in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and a regular contributor the United Church Observer, is attempting to spend a year buying nothing. Well, not nothing, but not much.
Simpson acknowledges in her introduction to the fortnightly series that, as a publisher, she presided over the promotion of  the very thing for which she is now seeking some expiation:
Part of my job was to promote the purchase of stuff, and the majority was fattening, silly, fragile, fleeting of use and unnecessary to the well-being of the reader. I was an enthusiastic participant in a business that reduced people to their lowest common denominator: consumers. 
I remain unhappy about that, but this is the year of my personal mea culpa. This quest is an elongated Lenten reflection. Whenever I purposefully do not buy, I dedicate that moment to God.
She wrote about a venture into downtown Toronto for the memorial celebration of a friend; she apparently did not yield to temptation:  
"My enforced jaunt to downtown Toronto necessitated facing that double-edged sword of retail opportunity. I could acquire the gluten-free mix my celiac daughter favours. But this required visiting that kitchen emporium with a name like a California law firm: they clearly saw me coming. Getting to the flour meant bypassing groaning boards of glorious ceramic decanters, stacks of luscious linen tea towels and all of the newest appliances; sausage-making gizmos, milk-frothing thingies and gigantic silvery vats that create gelato in 30 seconds. And then, the kitchen cosmetics: liquids, foams and gels wafting lemon and lavender in bottles suitable to a Paris parfumieres. Get thee behind me, Satan of the soaps!"
The initiative caught the attention of CTV's Canada AM program. 
Meet the N.S. woman trying to buy nothing for a year
After years of touting the latest gadgets and beauty products, the former publisher of a Canadian women's magazine is making amends for years of promoting over-consuming with her pledge to buy nothing for an entire year.


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