Posted by: highmountainmuse | January 22, 2009

Getting your money’s worth

These are my snow shoes.  Bob bought me my first pair back in October of 2002 for a birthday present.  I used them for three winters, at the average of probably 250 miles a year.  At the 750 mile mark, more or less, a binding broke.  I sent the snow shoes back to the manufacturer to be repaired.  They sent me a brand new pair.  No charge. (Yes, that is honoring your clients and your product.) That replacement pair, I have had ever since, for what is now four years, and probably 1,000 more miles.


my good ol' snow shoes

my good ol' snow shoes

So, this is what one pair of snowshoes can look like after a thousand miles.  I’ve replaced one or two of the rubber straps every year.  Bob’s done a few larger repairs for me, like riveting on a replacement buckle that was about to give, and replacing a little bolt that I had completely wore down.


The wear and tear is impressive.  The nicks rubbed through the plastic, and even through the aluminum bolts, are pretty great.  They add, I like to say, character. And yet structurally, they are in great shape. Solid. They work. Why would I replace them?  I’m going to see if I can get 10 years out of the original investment, or 2,000 miles, which ever comes first. Why would I want a new pair?  I’m quite attached to these ones. Why would I spend money for the latest and greatest when I know how well these work? I have yet to meet another human who has as many miles on a pair of snowshoes, so I know these will do.


I like to challenge myself to see how long I can make something last, how much I can squeeze out of a tube of toothpaste or dig out of my cherry chapstick.  This sweater I’m wearing is a bit ragged, but it’s comfy and I love it. When we visit family in town, we make a point of stopping by the thrift shops – to drop off a bag, and to “restock” (Forrest won’t stop growing).  Even “used”, these clothes last a good, long time.  Fashion isn’t really a priority for us here, so these will do.


We have a friend who insists on wearing the same shirt he wore back in the eighth grade when he comes up here to fish. The shirt is not only well worn, but rather short on the arms (it appears to be ¾ length).  I don’t know why he does it, but I think it’s great.  He’s the same person whose fancy fishing waiters consist of the jeans and tennis shoes he’s wearing that morning.  Thank goodness everything dries quickly enough in this environment.  Guess he just figures, these will do.


That’s the key:  these will do.  It’s something I’m trying to learn.  Our society is somehow geared to believe that we need to buy the new one and throw away the old.  I’ve read this started in the 40’s with the belief that the more we consume, the more we purchase, the healthier we will create our economy.  I’m the last person who’s going to claim to be an expert on market analysis or what no, but I’m just going to make one quick suggestion:  consuming less, buying less in the first place, is probably the most important step we can take towards simplifying our life and saving this beautiful world.  If the market experts say that this concept will mess up our economy, I guess I’d just say that well, we’ve already done that.  Maybe we can try a new approach.



  1. I couldnt agree more. . . it is easy for me to fall in to a rut of gear “collecting”. I had to tell myself that I dont need a backup for everything and even though it’s on sale doesn’t mean I have to aquire it! It’s fun to have equipment that is tied to memories of many uses. I enjoyed your writing on the greatness of neighbors. . .thank you for letting me know about the tree that fell near the cabin! About how big would you say it is?

  2. Hi Neighbor. That tree was decent size, had snow on it and I didn’t get close, but I’m guessing maybe 12 inch diameter. And just the very tippity top is what laid against your cabin window sill. Luck! And now you have plenty of fire wood for keeping you warm on a visit next winter!

  3. Keep it up Gin! You’ve really got us all thinking out here (way down away from that beautiful mountain). It is so easy to get caught up in all this consumerism and I agree with Russell that just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean we have to acquire it…however I am often guilty of just that. Since you began your blog I have found myself staring into my closet wondering, “how did I get all this stuff?” And now I have a big bag full of “stuff” ready to donate but even that is a little difficult because it all still fits and I think I may “need” it some day (even though I may not have worn it in years)

    I could go on and on about this subject but I won’t. I am very thankful for what I have but realize it is still way too much.

  4. That is some impressive mileage on a pair of snowshoes. Thanks for such a wonderful story of what simple living is all about.

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