30 June 2011

Postconsumers

Postconsumers.com is an interesting site with an odd twist.

The site provides educational content to help readers become more frugal, act with greater environmental awareness, and move beyond material consumption toward something more meaningful.

Recently, they put up a post urging readers to unsubscribe from all those newsletters that promise deals -- but end up persuading people to buy stuff, thus spending money they wouldn't have spent if they hadn't gotten the message in the first place.

Good point.

I went through my email trash and unsubscribed from several of those newsletters. I kept only Landsend, because they send messages with actual good deals that I use a few times a year to keep my quickly-growing son in clothing. (I can, and do, get him used shirts, but pants are hard to come by because he needs slim sizes.)

The other places offer free shipping or some other fairly insignificant promotion to get me on their site, or they send deals that have to be used in a store, where I'm unlikely to find what I was looking for but fairly likely (having made the trip) to buy something I wasn't looking for and didn't think I needed until I found it on the rack.

A few days ago, there was a piece about how to cut back on air conditioner use. Their recommendations include closing shades/curtains where sun is shining in at midday; using fans to move air; and turning off all possible appliances, because they all emit some heat.

I also sip ice water continuously in very hot weather, and if possible, I avoid cooking during the day -- I wait until late evening after it's started to cool down and then cook things up to eat cold the next day.

We have yet to get our portable air conditioner out of the closet, though we were tempted that week early in June when temperatures got close to 100 degrees for a couple of days. Rather than blocking several windows with a/c units that cut off air circulation and provide easy temptation to just turn them on, we have a single portable unit that can go in different rooms at different times of day or night.

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The postconsumer twist? It appears that the whole site exists to sell their "interactive guide" or their book about how to cut back on material consumption. There's a button that says "start your assessment now at no cost." I clicked on it, entered some information, and then got to a page where I had to give them money to get any output.

Grrrrrrrr.