Consumer Cravings

by Katy on July 13, 2010 · 24 comments

I choose to not buy anything new, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to new stuff cravings. My always-has-been-cable-free household recently converted over to the dark side. (My husband loves soccer, and he really wanted to watch the World Cup games.) So not only was my home graced with the melodic beauty of the vevuzela horn, but Spongebob, iCarly and a huge buttload of HGTV somehow snuck into our lives.

My name is Katy, and I am a HGTV addict!

There does not appear to be even one show on that channel that I am unwilling to watch. I even got my husband in on the action, as Holmes on Homes is a fantastic show for anyone who is about to embark on a remodeling project, which is my husband’s unfortunate fate. (That, plus the man bears a striking resemblance to my husband.) The kids are even feeling HGTV’s sinister pull, as they guess which house the couples on House Hunting will choose.

“Mom, mom, did they pick the house with the big backyard?”

I don’t know what it is, but I feel the worries of the day melt away when HGTV is on. Ahh . . . other people’s home ownership.

However, even I am not immune to the consumer draw of having everything be new, shiny, functional and completed. I am suddenly seeing my house with a sharpened eye. The paint in the bathroom behind the sink is chipping off the wall, (caustic hand soap?!) our towels are stained and fraying; and our TV room is designed for two people to sit in comfort, while two others squirm uncomfortably.

What I had once been content with is now getting on my nerves.

I took needle and thread to the towels, which fixed the fraying issues, but did nothing to address the stains. I know the reddish brown splotches on the hand towels are from terra cotta clay, while others will assume it’s blood. Which it really does look like. I’m not sure when we last bought towels, but I do know it was at least a couple years before I started doing The Compact in 2007.

I have kept an eye out for new looking Goodwill towels for awhile, but have had no luck. I even looked on Craigslist this morning, which was fruitless.

Luckily, World Cup soccer has ended, which means our days of compulsive cable watching are coming to an end.

I know I will miss having endless TV watching options, but I am looking forward to seeing my house for what it is. Kind of rough around the edges, but perfectly fine otherwise. And those vuvuzela horns? I won’t be missing them whatsoever!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla July 13, 2010 at 5:10 am

I’ve seen a lot of HGTV at my parents’ house and felt that same pull, Katy. Usually once I get back home I realize there is nothing wrong with my house except the desire created by clever marketing (that’s what it all really is, you know) for something new and “better” than what I have. Honestly, it took me a good while before I realized that this type of television is every bit as insidious as some of those overtly disgusting shows. It creates dissatisfaction with what I have been blessed with and sometimes it even fosters envy toward those with lots of shiny new “stuff”. I still see some HGTV while I’m there, but I am careful to watch with a much more critical eye.


NMPatricia July 13, 2010 at 6:02 am

I too am aware of the insidious pull. I laugh at myself everytime I begin to feel the pull. At least I hope it is at least nearly every time. When I wonder if my house is clean enough. As if a bottle will magically make it so. Doesn’t do it on its own! And if I just had a certain make-up item or soap, I would be beautiful. Hmmm, don’t think there is much to start with. I am who I am. I would get rid of the cable but it is important to my husband. Who IS immune to the advertising crap. So I watch when I watch with a critical eye of myself and “their” tactics.

Interestingly enough (at least to me) is it isn’t HGTV that is the pull. I find that tedious. Way too much work and money. But I like programs that seem to fill me with the sense I am missing out on life. My life is so unexciting. It is not reality shows – it is the fiction. And yes, I have to watch what I read too!


Shannon July 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

I’ve switched from watching HGTV to watching “How Clean is your House” and others like it for inspiration. A little more useful for me, and cheaper 😉


Laura July 13, 2010 at 6:56 am

Maybe a few rounds of bleach on the towels?
Also, sounds like a very practical thing to receive as a gift.


Susan July 13, 2010 at 7:16 am

Ahh, the World Cup. What will I do now with my time. I believe I watched almost every game due to being recently unemployed. Who were you all cheering for? I wanted Germany, the husband wanted USA, then he choose Netherlands. My youngest wanted England or Spain so he got his wish. Next year is the Womens cup and I am going to try to get involved in that.
We watch HGTV’s House Hunter’s international, I know we can never afford those. I wish they would show ones that average people could buy.
They used to have a show a few years a go that decorated small spaces. I wish they would bring that back for those of us who have downsized.


Katy July 13, 2010 at 8:34 am


I don’t think I actually watched a game from beginning to end, and I didn’t really have any particular teams that I rooted for. I usually like to see the underdog win though.

House Hunters International is a guilty pleasure of mine. They had one on the other day where a South African woman was looking to buy a flat in London. She ended up buying a completely gutted one in the Kensington neighborhood that she very quickly remodeled into a fantastic showpiece. I’m thinking about watching it again on OnDemand.

Sadly, my husband put the parental controls on the TV and I keep forgetting to ask him the code. This meant I was unable to watch the latest episode of Entourage last night.

Yes. I see what I have become. 🙁



Beth D. July 13, 2010 at 9:12 am

You need an aunt like mine who always buys me random things for Christmas (even though we always agree not to exchange gifts). This year she got me, my husband, and my mother (whom we live with) entire sets of towels. When I took them back to the store, the woman there was so sad I was returning them since “they are sooo nice”. I told her I didn’t have a bathroom. She quit talking and gave me a weird look! lol Next Christmas, I will send them to you 🙂


fairydust July 13, 2010 at 10:42 am

I confess I found myself watching soooo much HGTV before we cut our cable down to basic only (ie, the 4 major networks and Discover – go Mythbusters!). I loved watching all the remodeling and house-buying shows, although I realized that if I heard one more woman (usually) say, “*tsk* I’d really prefer GRANITE countertops,” I might’ve screamed. Talk about needing to keep up with the Joneses 🙂 But hey, I say that as someone who has a scarred, stained old countertop made of goodness-knows-what in the ’80s, so what do I know anyway – LOL! Isn’t Holmes on Homes great?


Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire July 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

Oh, HGTV. Years ago when we first bought our house and we still had cable, I had to make myself stop watching that channel. It’s dangerous to me, as it breeds discontent. I started hating everything about my house, so I had to turn off that channel. One of the best decisions I ever made.

As someone else mentioned, I found How Clean Is Your House? much more inspirational and beneficial, as it always made me want to start cleaning and picking up after watching it!


Queen Lucia July 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

We also don’t have cable and I couldn’t be happier about it, for this very reason! I was at my mom’s a few weeks ago and got sucked into a 2-hour marathon of “Say Yes to the Dress” which she and my daughter watch when they have a sleepover – I don’t like it, but I figure once in a while is OK since we don’t have it at home. Then we stayed at a hotel this weekend while we were in Eugene and turned on the TV while my husband took our daughter to the pool. “SYTHD” was on but I guiltily snapped it off when they came back – my husband was convinced I was watching something inappropriate. Yes, just not what he thought!


psmflowerlady/Tammy July 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

I gave up cable when I got divorced and moved into a house with no antenna, so we’ve had NO TV during that time. Whenever we visited family that had cable, my kids would complain because I too was hooked on HGTV. I used to like the decorating shows (especially on-budget ones) but they all seem to be about “flipping” houses lately. What’s up with that? Anyway, since their target audience changed, it’s slipped off my guilty pleasures list – even when I travel on business. I really have to watch myself on that “ingratitude” for what I have, but it’s mostly about knitting/crafting. I can get LOST in ravelry for hours looking at what others have made. I think I have over 1000 favorites right now and won’t live long enough to knit them all – yet I still check patterns – which BTW I filter ONLY FREE patterns – still crazy though. Since having no TV – I’ve become VERY aware of how marketing-oriented (especially towards kids) TV in general can be – not just the commercials. But, it wasn’t as obvious about ME being the target audience.


Lisa Under the Redwoods July 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I was watching one of the home improvement shows (I think it is on HGTV) where a couple look for a house with a designer who shows them what they could do to it “with in their budget.”

On this one episode a couple walks into a kitchen and the wife looks around and says “I could live with this.”
The designer speaks up with “Yes, but for only $40,000 look what you could do.” Ugh!


karen July 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

2 words — Rit Dye. Like paint is the cheapest way to remodel, dye can work wonders with plain fabrics or to disguise stains 🙂 It made my ratty old cotton bathrobe ‘acceptable’ for another year, lol I have heard of this HGTV but never seen it….hmmmm….any shows feature ways to recycle/ upcycle what you already have?


Molly On Money July 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

We don’t have TV (I was too cheap to buy the converter box-even with the government coupon). I love TV but I realize I have the same reaction as you do. Suddenly I want so many things, I go out and buy them and don’t like them so much. You know, my desired item is lacking the amazing camera angle and boosted up color.


Mrs. B July 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I got tired of HGTV and started watching the green channel (living with Ed was mine and my husbands favorite). We have since moved and now have one in college and one going this fall….which means we are on basic cable only. Basic channels, discovery and the hallmark channel. It sure keeps you from watching to much tv….unless your into courtroom type tv or whatever old rerun is on hallmark this week. It is really freeing.


Tracy Balazy July 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I like the shows on HGTV, but it burns me up when the home-selling shows feature people for whom nothing is good enough. That’s when I start to wonder if the potential buyers are coached in what to say, to make the show more interesting. Them and their lust for granite countertops and atrium foyers, ugh!


molly July 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

no WAY! We too gave in to the siren song of cable because of the World Cup – well my husband did. Personally, I pouted for at least a week, in protest. New family dog has kept me from enjoying the illicit pleasures of HGTV, but I know it’s out there. Waiting. For. Me. Fight the good fight Katy. 🙂


Magdalena July 14, 2010 at 5:03 am

So Americans get to see Mike Holmes now! He has a newer programme called “Holmes Inspection” – which is just what you need before you look for a house.He is a major Canadian celebrity hunk. (And your husband looks like Mike? You will be the nevy of every Canadian woman!) I love Kim and Aggie – I said to my husband it’s as if our own aunts were visiting. To which he said, “Kim looks like Aunt June, but she’s not an East Ender.” (His family emigrated form London, mine fom the northern parts of Great Britain.) Yes, HGTV is a guilty pleasure all over North America!


Magdalena July 14, 2010 at 5:04 am

I see I meant “envy”. Keep an eye on him when you cross the border!


Andrea July 14, 2010 at 6:00 am

If I ever find myself in a hotel (which hasn’t happened in a long time, thanks to the state budget crisis turning meetings into webinars), I end up staying up half the night watching HGTV. It’s a dangerous, dangerous land to tread.


WilliamB July 14, 2010 at 7:04 am

I hardly go to stores anymore except the grocery store. This has both good and bad effects. I don’t buy cruft and I’m not lured into thinking I need something I don’t need. OTOH I no longer have good gift ideas and have to make special trips to buy gifts, and my reading selection has declined dramatically.


Diane July 16, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi Katy, sister-of-my-heart! I don’t have cable or antenna at my home, though I do have a big box for watching movies from the library. I do have a rental house which has cable and a “casita” for my use. When I go there to visit, HGTV is on from the moment I arrive until the moment I leave. It is on the air until 4am! (Ask me how I know.)
As a result, my casita is decorated to the hilt (on a budget, of course, all 200sf of it!). My “real” house, not so much. Fortunately, I haven’t been able to visit my rental place since January. I think the HGTV cravings are starting to subside…


Mareees September 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm

you don’t need cable…you can still watch HGTV shows on


Katy September 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I know. We have cable so my husband and son can watch European soccer games. My husband rides his bike to work and back to offset the costs.



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