One month of buying nothing – day five and all the fun of the fair.


Flower display at the Royal Canberra Show.


This little flashback is to my late summer month of no spending when the Royal Canberra Show was in town. Could there be anything which represents consumer culture and junk more than the modern ag-show? The show bags, ridiculous wigs, novelty toys, giant teddy bears, inflatable hammers, balloons, giant plastic cups, the list goes on. I knew that venturing to the show would be a risk but there were other elements of it that I really wanted my daughter to experience. I wanted her to see the animals, the produce, the craft, the flowers. Pretty much all of the stuff the show should be about.

So, hand in hand with my daughter and mum, I ventured in. From the start, it was an assault on the brain’s desire to buy – halls and halls of ‘bargains’ but definitely not a single thing that looked remotely capable of adding value. Just a festival of plastic. I am so pleased to report I walked out of there having only bought my entry ticket, some popcorn and some portrait photos of my daughter with a duckling. Mum wanted to buy her some show bags (plural). She isn’t even two yet and discards things like they are hot potatoes. We negotiated and settled on one bag. Ai chose the Mega Pony which had not one but seven toy horses. I let her have two and hid the rest. They will be trotted out at her birthday which is in a few months.

I’m not sure if to mark this day as a success or a failure. I think the bag of plastic horses is really a bag of trash BUT I compare it to my previous decisions when visiting the show. I would have bought multiple bags for my kid, a few for myself and probably one or two for my husband. But when I think about it, every single non-food item from these bags bought over my lifetime must now be in landfill. I certainly don’t have the glasses with eyes on springs, the novelty cups, masks, wigs, magic tricks, fake dog poos, toys, pens, none of it. SO where is it? And how long will it hang around on the earth? A terrifying thought.


Grand champion pumpkin at the Royal Canberra Show



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