This is National Shopping Disease Day which follows turkeys around, near as we can figure.
It’s the day when dumb people shop.
I like to think things through “logically, Captain.” And spending money today – while gratifying for some – is about the dumbest display of herd mentality we’ve seen second to Bitcoin which dipped under $4,300 overnight and maybe Trump-hating.
Let’s review some basics, shall we?
- When are electronics cheapest? Whitson Gordon over at LifeHacker figures first quarter (not now, you dolt!).
- Golf clubs are cheap generally in March.
- If you want deals on bass boats and motorcycles, then you’ll do better in the midst of an ice storm and when boats on the Great Lakes are up for the winter to keep from being crushed by ice.
- In terms of televisions? Yeah, we are looking at updating our “old” UHD 55 in the living room to a 65″ UHD – but by the numbers, we will likely get a better deal on one in February.
- On many household items, it really makes more sense to buy when you can afford things and stay the hell away from debt.
An amazing thing happened in 2014: The number of personal storage units in America surpassed the number of McDonald’s joints. That, all by its lonesome, should scream “We are drowning in excess consumption!”
What happened to recycle, re-epurpose, and re-sell? It’s just too damn easy with eBay to pick up everything you have ever wanted – and at somewhat affordable prices. If people were smart (and no bets here!) this should be National eBay and Craigslist Day.
Take my ham radio hobby: Should I be satisfied with one all-band, all-mode radio? Sure. But I get extreme pleasure from being the Electronic detective. As a result, I buy broken cheap on eBay, fix it ’em up to work in first-class condition and sell it for a couple of bucks more than cost. At least, that’s the plan.
When viewed this way, my hobby is not a cost center – it’s a profit center.
Fellow I know does the same with motorcycles. End of the riding season through January he picks up bikes that have “issues.” Then he works on them December through April and when kids are getting out of school (with a fresh crop of wannabe bikers) he unloads them for a profit.
See how this works? No need for Santa…
Do You Own Things, or Do They Own You?
Short story: Elaine and I met and married and lived quite happily in Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego on a 40-foot sailboat. I was aboard for almost 11-years. Ever do the math on that? Let’s say the average beam of the boat was 7 feet and the usable length was 37 feet. Call it 260 square feet to round-off.
In this space, I managed to write UrbanSurvival, Peoplenomics, finished my MBA back when (writing voluminous papers) plus we were well-stocked with food and water and we carried both business wear and sailing gear – and we sailed somewhere every weekend. We changed towns for the weekend like some people change clothes…great life of adventure!. Thing is: Small footprint, small devices, right?
You know how “Work expands to fill the available Time?” Well, there’s a consumer corollary that says “Consumption expands to fill available living space.”
We went from 260 square feet of living space to a shade over 4,000 square feet under roofs and 2,600 square feet under air…see where this is going? Toss in a large “yard” of 1.2 million square feet and the tractors, power equipment and time to keep all that tame, and you can see why we sometimes think going back to a liveaboard boat might be the sanest thing anyone can do. Condo’s make sense from the mid 70’s on…
See, on a boat, you are limited in consumption to the displacement capacity of the boat. When we moved off the boat when we went from San Diego to Boca Raton, Florida in early 2002, the boat rose 3-inches at the waterline.
(Math on that: Water is 0.036127 pounds per cubic inch and at 3″ times 260 square feet (144 per), a little more than 4,000 pounds of personal gear…which is why liveaboard boats don’t race – and gentlemen don’t sail to weather…)
If you’re living in a typical 2,000 square foot home and you have a storage unit, congratulations, you may be a hoarder, too. Excess consumption is a game we play with ourselves.
Really? Sure,…everything’s a business model, right?
If you look, outfits like “Address Our Mess” can help and they offer pointers on how to deal with a hoarder.
If you want a decent bump in your income? Get rid of your storage unit if you have one!
Denial is a terrible thing: For now, we actually use almost everything we have here, but since we’re slowing down a bit, we are starting to eye the process of downsizing again. Some day we will move into 1,000 square feet somewhere in a city where there are services (like Chinese and pizza delivered) and we can walk to the store instead of the half-hour drive each way. On the other hand, the world is insane and isn’t aging contagious?
Today, that’s the kind of mindset we recommend.
The Psychology of Hoarding
I’ve studied this a good bit so here are a couple of ideas for you to ponder.
In my own case, I started collecting radio gear because I really like to work on it. Thing is, I found myself doing more shopping than fixing.
A bit of “come to Jesus time” with myself revealed that I needed to spend zero time shopping and focus solely on the projects we have on hand. That’s the “new George” outlook nowadays.
Will I still order things online? Sure…but just to fix what we have. (If you don’t have it by 70, what’s the point?) Exceptions: parts like assorted 4-10 and 6-32 machine screws needed to complete repairs and restorations? SuperGlue! But, I’m not buying any more “big gear” because I have more than enough to fix, enjoy using and sell off down the road. (Insert your own hobby or passion here and see where it leads you…)
Being a Dull Person is Good
Dull people don’t do anything. Ergo, they don’t need anything to accomplish nothing.
The problem if you’re a renaissance human is you have too damn many skills. mEach one has a set of tools and equipment.
Even though we sold the airplane a couple fo years back, we still have a lot of airplane leftovers to get rid of. A complete propeller and nose cone, for example. Looks great on the shop wall, but really? It’s like a thousand-dollar trophy no one else appreciates. Silicone grease for the door seals, and a few specialty tools. Books on flight training, software, well…you’re tracking, right?
We didn’t take anything from our boating days with us EXCEPT for the $600 sailing jackets and even that wasn’t smart. In the event that climate change fails and we end up with Texas back on the front-edge of the Laurentide-II ice shelf, it will have been brilliant. Otherwise, not so much. Bright yellow jackets with overboard reflector tape? A bit out of place for Texas fashionistas…
A kitchen make-over looms after the holidays, but we may rip into that in a week or two. That cost-justifies the tools, but once that’s done, seriously will I need a wood thickness planer for the rest home? Long bed jointer? Really is some hard shit to stare at.
If the point of this morning’s rant isn’t in focus yet, I totally “get” why people spend a lot of money on electronica. They can’t afford to live the nominal life of their dreams so they move into a virtual life of pretend one. Totally get it. That’s where Digital Mob Rule and BS like Black Friday comes from. Runaway egos gone virtual.
Thing is, in most of living, the deeper joys are from actual doing. The limit? If you like gardening, there’s tools for that. If you have a lawn, more tools. Hydroponics? Grow media, fertilizer, hoses, pumps, aerator stones…geez. Sure, love that.
TAKEAWAY: Everything in nominal world is “thing intensive” while virtual world has a very light footprint.
So, as you click out of here to go spending, have a dee-lightful time. But be advised of some of our new rules figured from almost 150-years of living:
- Ask before spending: Will you get $X dollars worth of joy out of whatever you buy?
- Will you use it up before you die?
- Do you need it?
- Can you get it used or in January cheaper?
- Is shopping an addiction or necessity for this (_whatever_) you’re out to buy?
- What’s your plan to excel in the nominal world and does this (_whatever_) keep you focused on that? Or, are is it another step into digital quicksand?
Being dull takes a much smaller footprint and leaves lots of time leftover. If you have no resources and lots of time, of course ideas like changing your gender and such will come along – your world’s become a fiction, after all…why not?
On the other hand, our here in the nominal world – where the head is just part of the life?
If you (hunt, fish, woodwork, shoot, metalwork, jewelry, sound record, create music, shoot, video, bake, gourmet cook, entertain, restore electronics, fly, do your own yard, work out, write books, paint, cast metal, invent things) then you, dear reader need square footage.
Don’t mean to go on at length about the insanity of all this Black Friday crap, but I think this touches some of it. And it’s why we don’t owe a dime on our credit cards.
Are American’s obsessive-compulsive? Here’s a clue: Jimmy Dean sells out of sausage-scented holiday wrapping paper.
Oh, and don’t forget the batteries!
The “Snews” Marches On
While you’re shopping, check country or origin. Then read China wants trade talks with United States to be equal, mutually beneficial and see if it makes sense. (Hint: Their idea of “equal” if they get breaks, we don’t get…)
Picture of Climate Change? Judge for Ure-self:
Digital Mob Rule blowing back, perhaps? Soros philanthropy president calls for US lawmakers to review Facebook.
And here’s a study in political contrasts for you: President Trump Issues Thanksgiving Threat to Close U.S.-Mexico Border while at the same time Hillary Clinton Says Europe Should ‘Get a Handle’ on Immigration to Stop Right-Wing Nationalism.
So, does this mean Hillary wants strong borders in Europe, but not in ‘Merica? Sure reads that way to us, but then again, we only take people based on what they say. And that’s a mistake because all politicians lie. (sigh)
OK, market is set to open down 100, or so, on the Dow. Europe is up, though, so we shall see. Short session today, so more time to work…
“…moron the ‘morrow…”