This coffee grinder is the perfect example of something I didn't need at all. I love making coffee in my aeropress, but I can get it ground (for free) at the coffee shop when I buy the beans. It is ground specifically for an aeropress too, so there is no physical advantage to grinding my own beans. But I saw one on Instagram and I became obsessed. Within half an hour I had convinced myself that I needed it in my daily coffee routine, that it would be really useful when travelling, and would give me a fresh grind with no need for any power source...
All true. And that was the danger point. It would have been very easy to find one new online, a few clicks and it would have been at my house in days. This is the point that I stopped. And waited. If I REALLY wanted one, I would still see the value it would bring to my routine after 24 hours. I had time to ponder. To understand if I was being suckered in by social media comparison, or whether this would be a piece of well loved and used kit.
It also gave me time to search for one secondhand.
Whenever we think about 'ethical consumption' we may think about organic / fair-trade / FSC certifications, but what about secondhand? If you don't own something yourself but want it, the best option is often to find one that someone doesn't want anymore that you can bring into your life. You fulfil that desire of need and you extend the life of something else. And often, you can get a higher quality item for a lower price than it would be new.
So, after 24 hours, I decided that yes, I DID want a manual coffee grinder. And I'd found an outstanding Japanese ceramic and stainless steel manual grinder on eBay for about a third of the price it would be new. I won it - and I now use it daily.
Wanting something you don't need isn't bad. Desire for 'things' does not need to sit at odds with our drive to be a responsible consumer - and we should never feel guilty for the things we own. If we use them and they add value to our life, get them (secondhand if possible), use them, cherish them - and if at any point that changes, we should pass them on again to someone who really wants them. Secondhand does not mean second rate. Keeping stuff alive for longer is integral to a functioning circular economy and if we ensure this fits with our materialistic desires, for me, that is the marker of a true ethical consumer.