Consumer Rights

We plunder the earth,

For all it is worth

For our twenty seventh new

Pair of shoes, to sit unused,

Upon the rack.

They don’t really fit,

But we can’t take them back.


Put it on the plastic, dear.

Never fear. We can afford to pay,

Starvation wages

To foreign workers we will never see,

Who put guinea pigs in cages,

Before they eat them for their tea.


It’s the basis of capitalist economy.


We plunder, we steal, we ruin, we spoil,

We take the goodness from the soil,

And measure our progress by margins of growth,

Though we only need to consider ourselves.

Our consumers have the right to choose,

To buy yet another pair of shoes,

To put on their shelves,

And never use.


Never fear.  Never fear.

Put it on the plastic, dear.


◄ Hickleton Main

The Garden ►


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John Botterill

Thu 18th May 2023 21:59

Great contributions, Manish, Stephen, Uilleam, Clare and Keith. I have just loved your responses. 😀 Epic!

I woke up and the lines
We plunder the earth
For all it is worth
came into my head. I claim no credit!
I saw piles of Gail's shoes in the cupboard (sorry Gail! But I did) and a poem ensued. The track of conspicuous consumption followed. Familiar, I know but I liked the line
'Put it on the plastic'
as it linked easy credit with Keith's point about plastic waste. Thanks guys! 😎
Thanks for the likes K. Lynn and Kevin.

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keith jeffries

Thu 18th May 2023 12:58

With this poem you have excelled yourself. Today we are dominated by greed and not need. We are rushing headlong downhill on a fast train to perdition. In the wake of this we leave non biodegradable waste, fish with ghastly mutations which disfigure them and a nation of people who are addicted to buying for the sake of buying. Never satisfied and always wanting more as we all sink beneath the waves of our own greedy plastic slime. Whatever happened to wood and craftmanship? Thank you for this. A poem to be broadcast. Or is to too late?

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Thu 18th May 2023 09:46

Very well put! We are sleep walking into our own demise. I despair! Thanks for this, John - we all need a metaphorical kick up the butt.

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 18th May 2023 09:01

Thanks John.
Very uncomfortable reading-and so it should be.
"Put it on the plastic dear" sums up for me the vacuous nature of much of modern society-the banks are increasingly targetting our children with a view to
"helping them to manage money",
whilst in fact, getting them up to their necks in debt befor they leave home.

I was talking only yesterday to a chap in the pub about the plastic waste which is ending up in the oceans, in our food and ultimately in ourselves.

Stephen- about things we don't need-On our bathroom window sill we have an ugly pot cat with a slot in its back, in which sits a plastic cactus-insanity or what!😕

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Manish Singh Rajput

Thu 18th May 2023 07:36

This poem is a masterpiece, John B. Loved it so much that I'm gonna save it. It vividly speaks of how materialistic humans can be and still loose interest so soon, shelving them, or worse, putting them in plastics, creating room for more non biodegradable wastes.
Thank you for this.

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Stephen Gospage

Thu 18th May 2023 07:32

I enjoyed the rhythm and rhyming of this, John, and how it seems to fade away at the end. Someone said that the modern economy is based upon persuading people to spend money they haven't got on things they don't need. I think your poem shows this very well!

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