Man, people sure do like stuff.
It becomes more apparent to me around the holidays, with my retail vantage point, watching people lose sight of being kind and rational, and instead becoming ravenous and rude. They want their stuff, they want the right stuff, and they want it now. If not, prepare for a tantrum.
Even before the holiday shit-show, though, I started thinking about how much crap I've accumulated over the years, and the fact that it is too much. I start weighing "want" versus "need". Sure, there's some gray area there, but for the most part I'm as spoiled as most every other American that I know.
This is probably the item that I think about most, mainly because it's the industry I'm in and I tend to accumulate vast quantities of clothes from whatever company I'm working for at the time. Do I need any more clothes? Can I justify buying a t-shirt? A jacket? God no. I get clothes for free anyway, so why the hell should I buy any more?
Done. Except for necessities that I don't get comped for like socks and underpants, no more clothes. In fact, it's time to purge what I do have again.
This is a tough one. Yes, I need food. But do I need to spend as much money on food that I do? Probably not. I could get by with bologna sammiches everyday, but I like good food. It's a passion. It's an event.
This is where balance comes in to play. Eating out, budget cooking, fancy meals, bologna sammiches. Balance.
I like cars. If I had the money, I'd buy a Bandit Trans Am, a Magnum P.I. Ferrari, a Fall Guy pickup, and an A-Team van.
But I don't, so I have to "settle" for a nice, reliable truck that's suits my needs perfectly. And I have to fight the urge daily to go onto cars.com and look for new trucks. It's a disease.
My house isn't for show. It's a house that's lived in. I don't own fancy furniture or designer anything. But it looks nice. It's not a shithole. So furniture is purchased when the old ones wear out. I have a lot of kitchen items, but they all get used…a lot. If we decide that a piece of furniture needs to be purchased, we gravitate towards flea markets.
I could still probably get rid of plenty of shit I don't need. The wife may have something to say about that, though.
I have quite a bit of fishing shit. But once again, the majority was either given to me or discounted drastically from me being in the business. I'm not purging any of this, as it gets used and will continue to get used until I die.
Comic books make me happy. It's really the only thing that I collect. But still, to collector's standards, I don't own that many. It hasn't taken over my house or my life completely, yet. I have three small boxes of books, albeit good books.
I could sell a few, I guess. If anything, to pay for new ones. The way I look at it though, is that my comics serve a couple purposes. One: They make me grin. I stare at them several times a week…connecting with characters, writers, and artists that I've known my whole life. Two: The price of old comic books is only going up. With the emergence of all the Marvel and DC movies, comics from the 60s, 70s, and even the 80s are skyrocketing. And with these characters and stories becoming mainstream, the value will only increase with time. Not to mention, if I can get my hands on some books from the 40s and 50s, that would make for a nice little investment. And that's the key word, investment. I'd like for my kid(s) to inherit my collection one day. Might be able to buy them a house or something.
I will buy a boat. But I will save money on groceries by eating more fish.
I consider booze a toy. I drink because it's fun, therefore it's on the toy list. I have a system. Two bottles of Scotch--one is a 1.75 of Johnny Walker Red Label, my go-to. The other is something for special occasions, usually a little pricier and sits for a while. Right now it's Laphroaig. One bottle of gin, cheap. This is my liquor cabinet. When I "need" vodka, beer, wine, or whatever else, I pick it up on a need-to basis, which isn't all that often.
I rarely go to bars, so that's money saved there.
Well, my assessment of myself and all my stuff wasn't as bad as thought. Not compared to the cretins who inhabit the malls and department stores, buying and returning and exchanging habitually. I could get deep and start discussing the mass production of nearly everything (overseas, unfortunately), and the mass consumption by spoiled Americans.
But I won't. Because I'm as guilty as you are.