Daily Kos :: Everything I Own, Owns Me

Daily Kos :: Everything I Own, Owns Me: “The truth is, everything we buy has an impact that is both global and personal. Look around you right now. Find some random object. Pick it up. For me right now, it’s a silly plastic toy watch one of my kids got from a children’s meal at Sbarro in the mall’s food court. It says “Made in China.” I wonder how many hands in some Chinese factory touched this thing, how much raw material went into its production, and how much fuel was expended to get it to our Raleigh store. Now that’s it here in my house, and my child has so helpfully abandoned it next to the computer, this watch, this thing is creating a claim on me: I must use it, store it, or trash it.

I have no use for it. My child already has another watch, too. I have too much junk in the house already. And trashing it adds to a separate but related problem. And my house is full of “stuff” like this–the flotsam and jetsam of life in 2005.”

Part of my unsuccesful conquest over “stuff” in my life has been to digitize everything. Rip your CDs and get rid of them. Buy a digital camera and get rid of photo albums. Owner’s manuals? Trash (oops, I mean recycle) them and save the .pdf on your PC. And yet sitting here in my office right now I find thousands of things that I actually spent money on at some point that clutter things up — abandoned projects, totally useless things I wasted money on. Maybe today I will straigten the office up a lit bit. Try this exercise. Look at all the crap that you don’t need that is around you and think back to your original point of purchase. Ask yourself right now, today, would I rather have had the money I spent on that or the item. And don’t even get me started about gifts. Christmas — what a racket.

And here’s something else. Half of the technology gadgets that I purchase get thrown out. Why? Beacause they don’t work. Or I can’t get them to work and I’m lazy and it’s past the 15 days or so that I have to return the item back to CompUSA or Best Buy or it’s too much of a hassle to deal with trying to send it back to an online retailer. Like what?

A pair of AIWA noise cancelling headphones. HPCN6 for the Google Search. $64.94 at Best Buy. I bought them because I thought it would make a difference in hearing my music and podcasts on BART when I go through the tunnel and it’s noisy. Guess what, no meaningful difference.

What else? NI-MH/NI-CD, “AA” AND “AAA” BATTERY CHARGER or that’s the way it’s listed on my “Harbor Freight Tools” invoice. $29.36 worth of rechargeable batteries and a charger that I thought I’d use for a digital camera and voice recorder. Guess what? Rechargeable batteries can’t hold a friggin’ charge. Yeah I already knew that, but that’s the kind of crap I’m talking about. Duh. I couldn’t justify buying batteries for every 40 photos or so and so I went rechargeable. Come to think of it now — that camera is another thing I dumped. It’s sitting up in my kid’s toy box. Another $300 or so down the drain.

What else? A Plextor CD burner drive. $82.89 from “ebuyer” I though a faster speed drive would rip CDs faster on my second office PC, an old Dell. Guess what? No significant speed in crease.

How about a Net Gear Access point. I thought it would help me get my wi-fi on my laptop in my living room (for some reason I can’t get a strong signal there). More Money wasted. Tons of tech support time, etc. and it never worked on my network.

A Net Gear wireless access point (my laptop doesn’t get a strong signal in my living room). It never worked. Hours and hours of screwing around with it and it never worked.

I seriously have got to do a much better job at buying crap.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No kidding. I’m the same way, both in my need to digitize everything around me (still working on figuring out how to digitize my friends and partner), and in my ability to buy tons of techno crap that I either dump into the ‘recycling’ bin or ebay or donate. You’re not alone. 🙂