Apr 6 2011

to buy or not to buy, that is the question [day 314]

I found myself at a thrift store about a week ago, one that I haven’t visited in a long time.  I really didn’t need anything, but since I was on that side of town, I decided to check it out.  In the past, any good must be purchased, but now I apply my new shopping skills before buying anything.  Here’s a little bit of what that looks like.

  • Browse first, pick up later. I shop without picking up anything.  I look for things I like, then once I’m done, I go back and get the things I remember.  If it didn’t stick in my head, it’s not worth buying.
  • Do I need this? This question doesn’t mean I can’t have it if I don’t need it.  What it does mean is looking at the big picture.  Why do I want it?  How long will I use it?  Will I even use it more than once of twice?  What item will I get rid of to get this with my one for one model?
  • Can I repurpose something I have, borrow or trade for this? Basically I’m asking, “Is there a better way?”  Let’s take a tool for example.  Do I have something that will do the same job?  Could I borrow or rent this item?  I look at all other options.

I did something a little different on this shopping trip.  I took photos of everything I would have put in the cart or considered buying right away.  Here’s the photos.

Things I didn’t buy.

This extremely well build patio coffee table would have come home with me.  I don’t need, I would barely have space for it, but it was a screaming deal at $29.99.  I still want it just looking at the photo of it.  I love the modern style, and the way this was built, it could serve as a storm shelter.

Awesome cap, too tight for my head.  Continue reading


Mar 28 2011

the affects of effects [day 306]

It starts when we’re born.  Accessories.  “My daddy is the best” and “My mom is better than your mom” on our shirts, iconic pacifiers, hair bows in more styles and colors than Baskin Robbins has flavors, complete ensembles of coordinated clothing, all in large quantities.  When did babies become fashion statements?  Aren’t they cute enough already?  I see a lot of people talking to parents with small babies and hearing more compliments about the clothing than the kid wearing them.

It continues through adolescence, expanding to toys and games.  I have boys (thank you God) that don’t care much about fashion and will probably need future therapy for their lack of stylish clothing options.  They do however have accessories.  They have Nintendo DS’s that have lots of games, a universal charger, a fancy light sabre stylus and headphones, all packed inside a custom case.  Society says, “You need more” and we respond by buying more.

Into adulthood now, and I’m not exempt from this.  I might not have a lot of fancy, trendy clothing but I do have some nice things in my house.  Most from eBay, craigslist and thrift stores, but nevertheless, lots of things.  Accessories.  I have decorative things that serve no purpose other than to sit there and look nice.  Now I’m an artist of sorts, so this is an important topic.  I love to create things, but with a purpose.  Much of my art is chaotic, but has meaning and purpose behind it.  The vase sitting on my shelf, not so much.  I’ve been sucked into the American vortex of more is better.  I created this photograph several years ago.  This has many meaning for many people, but I see it as how we become background fixtures in the sea of stuff we own.

Continue reading


Mar 2 2011

a new hand-me-down [day 280]

This Children’s Place t-shirt is for sale NEW, and not a used hand-me-down, even though it says it’s a hand-me-down.  Am I missing something here?  I don’t get it.  Why would someone buy this new?  If you buy it new, your kid is walking propaganda that you’re a liar.  Also, if you’re buying new stuff, why would you want it to say that it’s a hand-me-down if it’s not?  I guess you could buy it, put it on your kid for a few minutes, wash it, then give it away?  Still not getting it.  I like the recycling and reusing message on the shirt, but really?  This should be a custom made t-shirt… on a used t-shirt.


Jan 9 2011

are you expressing yourself or propagandistically supporting financial insanity? [flashback – day 227]

n1355929489_107613_2584Original post: January 1, 2009

About two months ago, I got a really cool pair of shoes from a friend’s teenage daughter.  She said she was not wearing them anymore, so I took them home with me.  The shoes were awesome, great colors and artwork!  As soon as I got home, I put them on and went outside to play with the boys.  We got out the sidewalk chalk… well our version of sidewalk chalk… and started the outside art process.  I drew the skull that was on my shoe.

I had seen lots of merchandise with artwork like my shoes, but I didn’t really know much about it.  Ed Hardy.  Stuff that people are paying insane amounts of money for.  $109 for a short sleeve t-shirt?!?!?!?  Are you kidding me?   Continue reading


Dec 4 2010

things I just don't get [day 192]

Let me just say, before you read my list of things I don’t get, that there’s a purpose behind this list.  That purpose is something I say regularly.  Just think about what you’re buying and what you’re doing.  Your actions make a difference.  They say who you are, what you believe in and what you support.  They can help people, help the economy, help with saving resources, but they can also hurt these things as well.  Okay, so there’s a few in here just for fun too.

Luggage condoms. What exactly are we protecting the suitcase from?  If the plastic completely covered it, without wheel and handle holes, then it might make some sense.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have a paint ball gun or a big plate of spaghetti, because I would have needed to test this.  If you travel a lot and you’re worried about the condition of your luggage, it might be easier to pick up a set at the thrift store, then you don’t have to worry about the airline people destroying it.  As a matter of fact, you may want to consider one of these plastic condom outfits for yourself with the TSA “pat down” procedures now in place.

Wonder Bread shoes. I have a lot of crazy clothing, but shoes that look like a Wonder bread wrapper?  I know, to each his own…  Maybe there’s a bread maker employee who wears these to work as part of a uniform?  These shoes are made by Keds and have nothing to do with the bread company.  I get this more than I get the luggage condoms.  That’s another good reason to shop at thrift stores, there’s much to find under the category “random”.

Why any parent would buy this for their child? This t-shirt says, “1.  I want it.  2. You buy it for me.  3.  Any questions?”  I have questions.  If t-shirts are the modern day propaganda, is this what we want our kids to be saying?  I don’t want my kids growing up thinking they don’t have to work for anything, much less giving them everything they want.  I wanted to buy this shirt just to keep some kid from wearing it, although it is at the thrift store, so maybe the people shopping there see things a little differently?  Now I need to go back and see if it’s still in the rack.  When buying t-shirts for your kids, think about the message.  There’s lots of cute and funny ones available.  I hope the parents of this child are prepared to buy this kid a BMW when she turns 16…   Continue reading


Jul 19 2010

the challenge: day 52 [iSticker… iDitched it]

iDecided to take the Apple logo off the back of my car.  iWent outside after church, going to my car and saw a guy taking a photo of the sticker on the back of my car.  It made me think about transition of propaganda to advertising over the past few decades and what iAm saying with my car stickers.  iHad an Apple sticker, the one pictured on the right and a church sticker of tinselectomy.com.

iAm quite sure Apple gets plenty of advertising and iDo very much like their products, however iWould rather advertise for the small mom & pop type places or organizations doing great acts of compassion.  iSaw this display of Apple stickers, and iHave to say, it’s a very cute use of them, but do the retail giants really need more advertising?  iKnow of a few homeless shelters and food banks that could use a little push.  Those are the stickers iPlan to put on my car.

iTook the Apple sticker off yesterday.  iHave the same feeling about my clothing, iJust don’t want to be a name-brand walking, driving, working, living advertisement for large corporations.  iAm not saying the retail giants are all evil or bad, but they have taken over the majority of retail stores and restaurants, making it difficult for the smaller places to survive.  Most cities have turned into Cookiecuttersville, USA.  Chain stores, mega-marts and strip malls as far as the eye can see.  Again, iWant to say these are not bad, but please support the mom and pop places in your neighborhood.  Do you know where they are?  iKnow many in my area, and to support them, my friend E and iAre going to start a blog to support these places.  More to come on that soon.

Those who say we cannot make a difference shouldn’t interrupt the people making a difference.  :)