The paradox of abundance

Several years ago I bought two 5-packs of reading glasses. There was a 1.75-diopter set for books, magazines, newspapers, and my laptop (when it’s in my lap), plus a 1.25-diopter set for the screens I look at when working in my Captain Kirk chair. They were cheap, and the idea was that they’d be an abundant resource. I could leave spectacles lying around in various places, there would always be a pair handy, no worries about losing them.

So of course I did lose them like crazy. At one point I bought another 5-pack but still, somehow, I’m down to a single 1.75 and a single 1.25. And I just realized it’s been that way for quite a while. Now that the resource is scarce, I value it more highly and take care to preserve it.

I’m sorely tempted to restock. It’s so easy! A couple of clicks and two more 5-packs will be here tomorrow. And they’re cheap, so what’s not to like?

For now, I’m resisting the temptation because I don’t like the effect such radical abundance has had on me. It’s ridiculous to lose 13 pairs of glasses in a couple of years. I can’t imagine how I’d explain that to my pre-Amazon self.

For now, I’m going to try to assign greater value to the glasses I do have, and treat them accordingly. And when I finally do lose them, I hope I’ll resist the one-click solution. I thought it was brilliant at the time, and part of me still does. But it just doesn’t feel good.

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One thought on “The paradox of abundance

  1. John Lennon quoted Harry Nilsson as saying, “Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn’t it?”

    I take your point! I hope there’s a possible world, a land flowing with milk and honey, in which abundance and respect and care can all dance together. Until that time, we have our pre-Amazon selves to rassle with, indeed.

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