Friday, October 20, 2006

My last comment about the sale

Ok, just some final observations about people and 'stuff'.
Folks, if you like it, buy it. Why does it have to be "collectible" or a first edition or "ode"?
You like that doll? You have a kid who you could give it to? Then just do it. Don't put it back down because it isn't marked with some useless manufacturer's mark. It's $2.00, for crying out loud.
I'm not making this hard on you.

I had to share space today with a neighbor of the deceased. I'm sure they had good times. I'm sure she helped in the final months. I'm sure she was fond of the woman.
But all day I had to hear comments such as the following (insert very strong east TN accent here, with very long drawn out flat AAAAAAAAA's.):
It's just so saaaad.
She loved wearing this shuuurt. It's just so saaad.
Ain't there any little girl relatives you could give them dolls too? It's just so saaad.
This stuff was her liiiife.

Simultaneously, this woman had pre-sale, tagged most of the truly valuable furniture, jewelry and accessories for herself and her daughter. She had made a shrewd mental inventory of all the "good stuff" and staked her claim.
She asked me in a whisper several times what I thought the value of such and such was.
I feigned ignorance.

I hate that kind of two-faced sensationalist grabbiness. Wailing about the travesty of the dispersement, but making sure she scored big.

This is why I DREAD DREAD DREAD doing this with my parent's estate. All of their antiquing friends and my family as well are going to be doing this very same thing. Wanting special favors, deals and inside information due to their long friendships.
"It's just so saaad."
I'd almost rather sell it all to total strangers than be subjected to this shitty behavior.

Why are people so hung up on filling their houses with speculative stuff?

I'm a bookdealer. If a book I read means something to me, I like to keep a copy around. I don't care if it's a paperback or hardback, first edition or signed. The writing is the reward. I meet people every day who decline buying a book because it doesn't meet the collectible criteria.
And it makes me ill. Even though I profit from their obsessions, I still hate that people will pay an additional premium for something as arbitrary as a numeric line containing a 1.
It's the same damned book. Same story, same dustjacket. Why do we buy into this?

Will it keep you nourished if the world goes to hell? A palette of bottled water is more valuable in my opinion.

Gold too. I can't for the life of me figure out why we place such a high value on a useless metal. If the world goes to hell and everyone's broke, who are you going to sell it to? And what are they going to do with it? It's soft; you can't make tools from it. I think it may be a good electrical conductor. Ok. But it's basically frivolous adornment. And QVC keeps scores of folks up all night just itching to push that button to make it theirs.

I've heard people say that collecting is a type of psychiatric disorder and on some level I'm inclined to agree.
When you die and you have all this stuff around, the only hope your decendents have is that someone else shared your particular disorder and are willing to pay big to acquire it.

That's not to say I look down on preserving the past. I love history. I love looking at a collection of old things. I love museums. I like seeing a display of the evolution of the light bulb or textiles for example.
So I guess the bottom line is that I'm not going to be one of the "preservers". I'm glad the disorder exists, because at least someone out there is hanging onto stuff for whatever reason so that the rest of us can gaze upon it.

Ok enough ranting.

1 comment:

am said...

enjoyment tied to worth. how to validate one's experiences? make it special, be special?

who was it that wrote about tourists disappointed after standing on the edge of the grand canyon? it was alright, of course. and they could say that they saw it. but they had seen books and postcards about it, you know.

in the photos, the sun was shining more brightly. the peaks were so sharp; the shadows were so crisp, and the colors, richer.

and in the photos, no one else was around.