Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — Counter Culture, Renoir, Reselling and a Money-Free Life

by Katy on October 12, 2012 · 31 comments

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

Counter Culture

After 16 years in a fixer-upper home, my husband is sick and f*@&ing tired of working on household projects. The easy and cheap projects are behind us, and what’s left is dull, expensive and not even slightly fun. So imagine my surprise when my husband excitedly told me this morning about a countertop that he saw in a bar last night. (He plays on an adult soccer team, and they went out for beers after practice.) It was stained concrete, and somehow, it sparked his deeply buried motivation for home improvement projects.

Our current kitchen countertops are inoffensive Formica with an oak edging that I’ve hated since the day we installed it. But the nasty, nasty counters from the previous owners needed to go, so we slapped down the cheapest option Home Depot had to offer. (Our house was uninhabitable when we bought it in 1996, and I am not exaggerating. We had to work on it for a full year before we could even move in!)

So now my husband and I have a date planned to check out the bar and countertop. Color me excited.


Is Your Right to Resell in Peril?

There is an upcoming Supreme Court case that’s catching the eye of many Non-Consumer Advocate readers. The newsworthy case involves a university student who discovered that English language textbooks sell for substantially less in his native Thailand than they do here in the U.S. So this entrepreneurial student set up his own eBay business.

Here are the details from the Wall Street Journal:

“The case stems from Supap Kirtsaeng’s college experience. A native of Thailand, Kirtsaeng came to America in 1997 to study at Cornell University. When he discovered that his textbooks, produced by Wiley, were substantially cheaper to buy in Thailand than they were in Ithaca, N.Y., he rallied his Thai relatives to buy the books and ship them to him in the United States.

He then sold them on eBay, making upward of $1.2 million, according to court documents.

Wiley, which admitted that it charged less for books sold abroad than it did in the United States, sued him for copyright infringement. Kirtsaeng countered with the first-sale doctrine.

In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that anything that was manufactured overseas is not subject to the first-sale principle. Only American-made products or “copies manufactured domestically” were.

“That’s a non-free-market capitalistic idea for something that’s pretty fundamental to our modern economy,” Ammori commented.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case on Oct. 29.”

I’m not worried about how this will affect occasional resellers such as myself. There is no way that law enforcement would be able to track vintage resellers, let alone take an interest in little ol’ us. However, I will pay attention to the Supreme Court verdict.

Super interesting.


Flea Market Renoir Had Been Stolen

Do you dream of finding a priceless painting at a flea market, flea market or garage sale? Well, a recent flea market Renoir sale was halted recently, when it was discovered that the painting had been reported as stolen in 1951.

I feel bad for the seller, who must have already spent the expected $75,000 in her head. Not her fault she was holding onto stolen goods.

Such a bummer, but that’s not going to stop me from keeping an eye out for priceless paintings when I go thrifting. You never know . . . .


Could You Live Without Money?

An article from titled A Life of Abundance Without Money recently caught my eye. The article focused on Daniel Suelo, age 51 who has chosen a life dedicated to living without earning or spending any money. Eating perfectly good food from dumpsters, Suelo is bringing attention to the waste within our own society, blogging from the library computers and giving interviews. (I took a quick look though his blog, and please know I am not endorsing his ideas!)

“I’m not even sure what poor really means, because I don’t feel like I’ve been lacking since I gave up money. I feel in a lot of ways more wealthy and not so limited.”

It’s an interesting article, and worthy of attention. Of course, it’s not a lifestyle that many of us would sign up for, but there’s still food for thought.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

katzien October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

What “lifestyle” is this guy talking about…meaning where does he “live?” Shelter from the elements, having a light bulb to turn on, washing a blanket and pillow case….not free. Whatever dude.


Katy October 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

He appears to live in a cave. 🙂



Diedra B October 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for the Suelo Link. I think I need to spend some time reading it. This was particularly pause-inducing: When he desires something . . . Suelo takes a moment to find the seed of that desire, and most of the time he comes to the peaceful conclusion that he can contentedly live without it

Really? A Moment? It could take me a week, or a month. I need some of that whether it be self-discipline or the peace that passeth all understanding or the words at the end of that T. S. Eliot poem. But wow. Mindblowing.

Meanwhile, stained concrete? tell me more.


dusty October 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Katy,

We wanted to put concrete countertops in our kitchen when we were building. We were told we had to reinforce the bottom cabinets so they would be able to hold the additional weight. We have beautiful solid maple cabinets and the consensus was that we could possibly damage the cabinets so we decided against it. Also, saw a show on HGTV about staining the countertops with coffee, this is what I wanted to do, thought it looked so cool, oh well.


Katy October 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm

That will definitely have to be a consideration. However, our kitchen cupboards are super solidly built. A remodel from the 1940’s (?)



Diane October 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Lives in a cave? OK… I may be downsizing even more in the near future, but I am definitely not ready for a cave. Somehow, I think a person could do something more productive to bring notice to food waste. I just read an article about a group in Atlanta that “rescues” food from restaurants at the end of each day, especially fresh vegetables, and takes it to soup kitchens.


Jennifer B. October 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I read the book about Suelo, and found it very thought-provoking. His life has taken many turns, and it’s taken him a long time to get to where he is now. The book is “The Man Without Money” by Mark Sundeen, if anybody’s interested. I’m not planning on his going his road, however. 🙂


Kirsten October 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I just started this book last night (from the library, of course)! I was very interested but skeptical, after the first couple of chapters I plan on reading the whole thing.


Martha October 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I went to a reading by author Mark Sundeen and am now 1/2 way through the book. I am staying up later than I should each night to read it. Of course most of us wont make the choice he has, but Sundeen first assumed he was nuts and came to the conclusion that he is very much NOT nuts…worth a read, I think. His premise is that money is an illusion, and for those who lost alot in the great recession, it is hard to argue with…


Linda in Indiana October 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

There is also an older lady in Europe that is living money-free and has been doing so for quite some time now. However, I don’t recall her name. Her lifestyle is not as extreme as Suelo’s. Interesting topic and thought provoking!
I personally hope we never lose our right to buy and sell directly. Bartering and trading have been around since almost the beginning of time. Creates community and fosters relationships. Plus sure helps stretch a buck and keep stuff out of the landfill.


Poor to Rich a Day at a Time October 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm

There is actually more than you would think living a money free lifestyle and while maybe not for everyone, they do provoke some insightful thoughts and they are so inspiring. Suelo for example came from a good family, went to college and got his degree, made a lot of money and then took his life savings, put it into a phone booth and walked away living cash free ever since. Of course who can forget Diogenes who gave up material possesions and lived in a wine barrel in a public park?

Today the most notable ones gaining attention are David Suelo, Mark Boyle in the UK and then who Linda in Indiana is referring to is Heidemarie Schwermer who has been doing it before even Suelo.

Freegans are very much onto this concept too, while perhaps not entirely cash free, they sure have reduced costs down to a bare minimum if not entirely free.

Inspiring……….just sayin


Kristen | The Frugal Girl October 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Oy. A cave is just a bit too fringe for me. I like a warm house in the winter!


Anna October 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Amen Kristen! I also like indoor plumbing. 😉


Katy October 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Kristen, I can totally see you doing all your baking and home schooling in a damp dark cave.
Oy, indeed!



ASF October 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

haha I could see that!


Susan October 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I checked out the book about Suelo from the library and read it several months ago. It really did a good job of describing his upbringing, education, and life experiences that led him to his current path of living money free. While it is definitely not something that most of us can ever imagine for ourselves, if you are at all interested in minimalism, living simply, reducing your impact on the planet, or related topics, I think you would enjoy reading the book. Its a pretty quick read, and it definitely gave me food for thought when I read it.


patti October 13, 2012 at 5:58 am

Keep your eyes open for that Supreme Court ruling… our local news reporter stated it would affect those of us who resell on eBay and even in consignment shops, etc. They said you would have to contact the company who makes the item to receive permission to resell it here. What? I do not have an eBay business… just resell stuff from my home that I don’t want, but still… this would make it crazy!!!


Katy October 13, 2012 at 7:26 am

Love it!



Kristen | The Frugal Girl October 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Talk about unenforceable laws. How could they possibly make sure that everyone is contacting the company to get permission to resell??


Kayleigh October 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

How do you live money free and go to the doctor or pay taxes?


Poor to Rich a Day at a Time October 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

You don’t pay taxes, you are not earning money to be taxed, you are staying on federal and state lands so do not have property tax, you own no auto so are not paying auto tax and you don’t buy anything so no sales tax. He forages and dumpster dives to get what he needs, he never accepts cash from others but will accept invitations to dinner and company from time to time.

As far as medical, I can’t speak for David Suelo himself but most that don’t have money to go to the doctors or to have medical insurance ( which is a lot of people!) practice a healthy lifestyle to stay healthy and accept the fact that when something serious happens it is the course of nature that we either heal or die as nature intended.


dusty October 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

I have a question, didn’t he have to pay taxes on the royalties from his book?


Poor to Rich a Day at a Time October 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

No, David’s friend wrote the book, Suelo himself does not accept any proceeds from the book.


dusty October 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

thanks for the answer cause I was wondering. I’ll have to read it.

Katy October 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

“When something serious happens it is the course of nature that we either heal or die as nature intended.” If this were the case, then I would be dead as I has serious appendicitis at age 4. 🙁



Lindsey October 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

Ditto for me. My brother and I had the same cardiac birth defect. When my brother had it, the fmaily had no insurance. My brother died. By the time I came along, there was money and insurance and I had open heart surgery and lived. My husband got cancer, and lived because we had excellent health insurance and money to cover what insurance did not. I am not a proponent of either healing or dying “as nature intended.” Perhaps I am wrong, but most people who say they are content to let nature take its course, quickly change their tunes when nature is about to put them 6 feet under.


Linda in Indiana October 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Same here…won’t go into detail…but at least three times in my life I have had things that would have been fatal if not treated. I am soooo thankful for insurance and agree that you definitely would change your opinion of letting nature take its course when actually at that juncture. Also notice that when these people say they use no money, lots of the things they benefit from have came from someone else working for it or providing it. Just my take on it.

Poor to Rich a Day at a Time October 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

It’s not a matter of being content or changing their opinion in the event of something serious occurring unless you are making that concious choice like Suelo is. Many people simple do not qualify for free government medical yet can not afford to pay for medical. More and More jobs do not offer medical either in these cases it is simply a matter of circumstances where there is not much you can do.

Those who are like Suelo though and doing it by choice? Well I can’t speak for them if they may change their minds later.

It is a sad statstic in America though of how many die a year due to no medical insurance, for them it is not a matter of changing their minds, they just can not afford it or in previous years had a previous condition where insurance would not cover them..

Poor to Rich a Day at a Time October 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

by the way, that number is a shocking 45,000 americans dying every single year due to no insurance……………. sadly


Jenni October 14, 2012 at 2:40 am

Hi I just did my laminate bench tops with concrete this weekend.
They turned out a dream.
You sand the laminate or wood and apply the Ardex feather finish cement in layers sand and seal.


Jean October 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

We have young friends who serially rehab houses they are living in and then flip them. They did concrete countertops themselves on their current project and they are fabulous!! Good luck with yours if you decide to go this route–very fashionable and budgetwise, two words that are hardly ever together!


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