Friday, April 11, 2008

How Much My Soul?

I am in a quandry. We have decided to donate our large first-generation flat-screen TV (it's about seven years old and weighs literally 250lbs) and the monsterous entertainment center it's in (which I love and will be somewhat sad to see go) to charity because the new house is set up differently, and since our new living room has a fireplace and glass french doors on two walls leading to the dining room and foyer, wall space is at a premium. We are going to splurge and get ourselves an LCD flat screen that we will mount on the wall over the fireplace.

Here are my thoughts on the situation. Being an environmentally-minded person, which is more wasteful: having an energy-sucking TV, or getting rid of it (being wasteful) in favor of getting a new energy-star one, or keeping it and continuing to suck energy, and thus not condemning it to a landfill (although technically this one won't be going to a landfill because we're going to donate it, but still). I have the same thoughts about the newer lightbulbs - do I switch out the old ones, putting them in the landfill before they're dead, in favor of the new ones, which have mercury in them anyway (what happens if they break?! also, I can't have a thermometer, but I can have a house full of mercury bubbles?), or do I keep them until they're dead, thereby getting everything out of them that can be gotten, but waste electricity to do it? Just for the record, I have actually switched out almost all of our bulbs, but felt very guilty throwing all the others in the trash.

Here's another question. I like to try and get things locally when possible. However, LCD TVs are VERY expensive. Here's the kicker; the same TV I looked at in a local shop today is hundreds of dollars cheaper at Walmart (I looked it up on the internet). So, do I stick to my principles and get it at the local place, supporting the local economy and definitely getting better service, but paying dearly for it, or do I do the walk of shame into Walmart and get my cheap-o box lowered off the giant platform and onto my flatbed cart by Jim-Bob the Crane Operator?

Where do you all draw the line of enviro-socio do-gooderism? I am generally fine with shopping in the organic sections, buying the Amish milk in the returnable glass bottles from the local market, and getting gifts at local stores. This TV purchase, though... it's a lot of money...


Susiewearsthepants said...

Well since you are doing all the other stuff with the light bulbs and everything, maybe that gives you a free pass to save a few bucks on the TV. I am going to invest in a new TV myself. I am a single working mother, I have every intention of hauling myself to the much cheaper Wal- Mart to purchase my TV. (We have had the old one for ten years, it's definitely time to upgrade)

desperate housewife said...

You speak of so many quandaries I have thought through as well. I don't know that there ARE always perfect solutions- just do what feels right. (And for me, I'd have to say going with the hundreds of dollars cheaper TV would probably feel right. I mean, gotta support the local economy, right, but what is more local than your OWN FAMILY'S economy?)

AndreAnna said...

This link tells you what to do if you break a mercury bulb in your house.

And I think donating the TV is a great idea - places like nursing homes, women's shelters, children's hospitals, all desperately need stuff like that. Thanks for doing that!

Swistle said...

I never know, either. But in general I feel like if a local business needs to charge HUNDREDS of dollars more on the same item, then it becomes their business problem, not mine. Sometimes I'm not willing to treat a local business like a charity, which is what I'd feel like I was doing if I deliberately gave up, say, $300, just to buy it from them instead of HateMart. But on the other hand, I do hate supporting HateMart.

I generally use things up. I use up lightbulbs, THEN replace them, figuring that the few extra months of higher-cost use is worth not wasting the manufacturing of the bulb that already took place---but I never know for sure what's best or right.

Mrs. M said...

I often have the same quandry. I'm very frugal and deliberate on how I spend my money. I want to support the local person, especially since I have my own little online shop and I want people to support me. I can usually give a few extra bucks to the local guy, but when we're approaching the hundred(s) I wonder if I should just head on to Target?

Such a conundrum. I guess you weigh your pros and cons and decide if you have the disposable income for it. Good luck!