A message more stores should promote

An aspirational sign posted at the Ikea store in Columbus. Photo by Jennifer Hartzell

I recently made a trip to the Ikea store in Columbus. The upper level is the showroom, where Ikea displays their products in real situations: living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc. When you go down to the lower level, you enter the retail area, where you can put items that you would like to purchase in your cart.

Before entering that area, there is a large sign painted on the wall that reads “Fill your cart with conscious decisions.” If you have read my columns before, you know I LOVED to see that. I even took a photo of the sign, pictured here.  

I have written about this before, and the how the last “R” should be the one on the top of our minds: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink. Rethink! What a great idea to promote. Each of us should be taking time to think – and rethink – about our purchases.

When I ask you to think about your purchases, I’m asking you to consider the following: Do I need this? If yes, then: Is this the correct item that will fulfill my need? If yes, then: Is this item one that will last? Is it quality? If no, then research higher quality items that will last you longer. It may cost more now, but save you time and money in the future. If the item is something you need, it is something that is high quality and will last, then go ahead and purchase it!

Believe me, I KNOW how tempting it is to purchase things that are inexpensive, on sale, etc. However, I am very much trying to evaluate all of my purchases in this manner. I don’t always succeed, but when I refrain from purchasing something because it’s not something that is necessary in my life, I feel better about it. Similarly, if I refrain from purchasing a cheap version of something we need, and invest in higher quality items that will last us, I am equally pleased with my decision.

I am evaluating all purchases, from clothing to furniture, to food. Yes, even food. I find that when I make an impulse buy for something on sale (typically some sort of packaged snack for my kids) they end up not even liking it. Sticking to what I know they like, purchasing new items that I truly believe they will like, eliminates a lot of food waste from our house.

Ok, back to Ikea. Yes, I know Ikea is known for its great prices – but that doesn’t mean its items are cheap in the sense that they are cheaply made. Some of their stuff is – but a lot of the items they offer should last just as long as more expensive counterparts.

I went with my daughter to purchase items for going to college this fall. Bedding, pillows, silverware, laundry bag, hangers, food containers, storage containers, plant pots, kitchen supplies are all things we purchased and all items that will be used for years and years.

Additionally, to ensure you purchase what you want and need, Ikea gives you one year to return items! Yep, so if you change your mind within a year about something, just go bring it back. They would rather take it than having their products end up in a landfill somewhere.

While shopping, keep in mind the message they are displaying: "Fill your cart with conscious decisions." I don’t know about you, but I feel as though most stores would love for you to walk through filling your cart with everything under the sun whether you need it or not. For the store to be telling its customers essentially to purchase what they need and refrain from over-buying things they don’t, is a pretty wonderful message for a corporation to be giving its customers.  

Please, when making ANY purchase from ANY store, make a “conscious decision.” 

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Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.06.2022