Flimsy Sanity: Not Crazy but Consumer

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Not Crazy but Consumer

Last weekend I went to a rummage sale at a mental health clubhouse. I had a bunch of crap I could have contributed to their sale and asked the woman taking the money if they wanted it for their cause. I was thinking they were planning an outing or something fun. The woman said that the sale was just an activity for their "consumers" and the money was going to an organized charity. I suppose she thought the label "consumer" was the least offensive one possible and at first, it bugged me as just more jargon that evolved from the equally irritating "client" but the more I thought about it, the more it may indeed be the perfect label for crazy people.

The term schizophrenic is often misused as somebody who does opposing things simultaneously so perhaps in that common kind of usage, "consumer" is the best descriptive noun. I sell stuff on ebay and there are two ways to pick things to sell. Currently popular ("all the rage" and how irrational is rage) and rare. Talk about your opposing goals.

I was visiting my neighbor and was trying to explain how insane shopping is. For a short while, I took consignments and sold three charger plates for a woman. They were the same shapes, the same colors, the same manufacturer (sorry, I cannot remember it anymore) and were just crude drawings of animals and things on the plates (the sale term is "primitive"). Two sold for under $10 but the one with the horse sold for over $200 because not as many were manufactured - they weren't even handpainted but machine made. How insane is it to want a variety of a common thing just because it is more rare since it serves the same purpose. The only reason is to inspire envy in other people. Same with books. I call rare books, "knick knack" books because they are not to be read, only for display. Same with mansions because you can only be in one room at a time and why wouldn't rich people live in a little house with a vault for diamonds and gold (or pickles if they become rare) instead of wasting all that glass and wood and chandelier electricity unless the goal is to inspire envy? I don't think I made my point because my neighbor wished I could remember the manufacturer.

I collect toasters that were probably popular in their day and thus have no resale value on EBay. Some have really interesting, esthetically pleasing designs. Because they were popular in their day, they are plentiful and CHEAP, usually in the free box and I am amazed that most work, just in case a big toast starved crowd shows up. My collection is not as good as my friend's collection of BIC lighters from many countries. You cannot believe all the places those things are made and the country of origin is usually printed on them. She picks them up by the side of the road. Her collection is interesting and better than mine in that it hardly takes any room. I am envious ;).

PS: The BIC collection would be easier to steal but both would be easy to replace.


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