Thanks to my friend Yvonne for informing me about Florida filmmaker Victoria Jorgensen’s documentary, Plethora. I haven’t seen it yet (it’s not exactly NetFlix material), but based on the review I read, the film provides further evidence that we Americans love our stuff, and we’re in no hurry to part with it.
Victoria was first inspired to make this film when she started noticing the vast number of PODS (Portable On Demand Storage) units popping up in her Tampa, FL neighborhood. She then decided to interview individuals who rent self-storage space which led to a documentary film about Americans, our addiction to consumer culture and how we store all of that great stuff we love to accumulate.
Let’s face it, we all have issues with “stuff.” Some buy and keep stuff because they really do think they’ll use it “one day.” Others keep things because someone special made it for them or gave it to them, or it came from a dearly departed great-great-great grandmother. And still others buy and keep things because they love the thrill of the hunt–finding just the right addition to a collection or that great bargain at the outlet mall gives them a rush. Jorgensen explores how all of this stuff becomes an extension of ourselves and how consumption can ultimately mascarade as personal fulfillment.
And then she addresses the big question–once we have it all, where do we keep it? Enter PODS and self-storage units and attics filled to the brim and garages we can’t park in and the need/desire for bigger and bigger homes. A disturbing statistic from the film shows just how far we’re willing to go to keep our stuff:
“The annual revenue of the self-storage industry is greater than that of the motion picture and TV industries combined. Jorgensen notes there are now 49 cubic feet of rental storage space for every man, woman and child in the United States.”
WOW…we could house the homeless in that amount of space and still have room for a few dozen Precious Moments collections. I’d love to tell you to run out and see this film, but I have no idea where you would find it. You can purchase it for $125, but then, aren’t you just accumulating more stuff? For now, read the review, pass it on, and take a day off from shopping.