Author Ann Patchett attempts to describe what it was like to stem the tide in her shopping habits. For a full year, she passed up the want-to-haves and purchased only what she needed. She described today's spending habits as "gold leaf, an ecstatic celebration of unfeeling billionaire-dom" in which people buy for the sake of buying -- or, one might say, to flaunt one's wealth.
A statement she made caused me to think about Jack and Marie buying canned vegetables from the reject table, where the cans were either dented or past their expiration dates: ". . . many children raised Catholic have a talent for self-denial" (Ms. Patchett says she grew up attending a Catholic girls school). The same can be said about people who came up through the Great Depression and the world wars.