Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday, the day when all good little consumers rush out to the stores to spend money they don't have on things they don't need in an orgy of full-contact shopping. Thankfully, I was born without the shopping gene. The harder stores push me to spend, the more I dig in my heels. I can't remember ever having taken part in this charming little ritual and don't plan to start now. There aren't a whole lot of material things I need now, and if it's a "must have" gadget, I'm even less likely to truly need it.

Many times, I prefer to want something than to have it. For example, for years I've lusted over orrerys. I look at them on websites, in museums, and in antique stores. Do I need an orrery? No. No one needs an orrery. If I have a sudden, desperate need to know where a planet is, I can go to a million different websites and track it down. But I do enjoy looking at the orrerys, and I can admire them equally. I can like one for the detail on the planets and another one for the gleaming brass gears. If I were to buy one though, I'd have to pick just one (if no one needs an orrery, absolutely no one needs two), and the model I'd settle on would never be everything I wanted it to be. Ownership = lingering dissatisfaction. Lusting from afar = being able to enjoy them all.

I've been slowly gathering presents for the SO and family since September. I have a nice little stash at the back of my closet. The SO buys himself whatever he wants when he wants it, so he's very hard to shop for. I'm no easier. We're about at the point where we give each other experiences rather than tangible objects. That's fine with me. I'd much rather go on a trip than have another thing I have to find room for in the hovel's rather limited storage space. Family is tricky too. Since I have no idea what they want or need, even though it seems impersonal, I buy gift cards for all the nieces and nephews. I hope they use it unwisely to obtain their hearts' desires instead of buying something practical. That's what their parents' gifts are for.

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