The Social Experiment

This blog is about understanding and exploring what my Grandmothers experienced by living on the home front during World War II. I am going to be living, as best as I can, to the US rationing standards of 1945. This is a social experiment, not only to connect to my families past, but to explore new way to live environmentally and socially responsible. I hope to show, that by living as our grandparents did, we can reduce the amount of waste that our society throws out and live healthier and more simple lives.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How did Store Owners Survive WWII?

As I am approaching the middle of this experiment... I want to know how the merchant people survived.  How did clothing stores and shoe stores stay open when most people only could buy one or two outfits a year? 

This is the question I have been wondering about.  I have now gone half a year without buying new clothes or shoes (a record for me)!  I just walked through Target today… through the shoe section – and tried on a few pairs… just for fun.  I tried them on – imagining how they would look at work… then sadly put them back in their box.  Knowing it is for the good of our world.

I can imagine that is what women felt too.  In the US many women were making more money than they had ever made before – and yet for the war effort – they did not buy on impulse.  They did not pick up that perfect hat or shoes, or that lovely summer top new for this season.  They (many of them – I realize not everyone) would dutifully buy their war bonds and count their ration stamps for their shoes, while sighing at the shoes in the window displays.
How different our economy would be if people did not buy on impulse.  The whole world of marketing is based on people buy things without a lot of thought behind it.  Would Target, Wal-Mart, or any other big department store survive if people could only buy so much?  Or would we go back to corner grocery stores and independently own clothing and shoe stores?  Which way is better?  If people were willing to save up, and own only a few things – that have high quality… could that thought end injustices forced on children and slave labor used to make the things we buy impulsively.

These are the questions that I think about when I try on these shoes… then smile, and put them back on the shelf.

No comments:

Post a Comment