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Sorcer
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« on: February 23, 2024 @889.09 »

Lately I've been watching YouTube videos discussing harmful trends on social media, especially TikTok, and two particular examples related to this topic of this thread are the "TikTok made me buy it" and haul cultures. I wasn't really aware of how prevalent these are, as I'm (gladly) not involved in this side of social media, but it made me wonder how it relates back to the kind of collecting popular in geek/fan spaces. I thought "Are my toys and enamel pins really that different from fast fashion and Stanley cups?"

Is this the kind of thing you've pondered before? Feel free to discuss.
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2024 @950.20 »

Yes, this is something that I have pondered and it's what influenced me to maintain modest collections. The real learning experience was when I went to Japan and bought way too much Pokémon merch out of excitement. Coming home I realised I wasn't passionate about half of what I had bought...

Now, I try to keep and collect only the things I really love, and quickly get rid of things I am no longer interested in. This actually grew into a second hand hobby, regularly selling but also buying stuff on second hand marketplaces.

Aside from the physical plane, there's also data collections-- or rather hoards. I thought our family collection of 1TB was a lot, until I saw people talking about how they manage their 10TB collections. I find that a bit concerning. The more data you hoard the more hard drives you have to buy, the more electricity is spent on keeping your media servers online... These investments seem rather wasteful. Is something really a collection when you are just hoarding whatever (physical or digital) without conscious thought?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2024 @951.69 by BlazingCobaltX » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2024 @962.77 »

i used to really be into Doctor Who as a kid. my mum's a hoarder and i've thankfully learned to escape that habit. still, there's chests full of old toys in my room that i can't clear out because they'll either "be worth something in the future" or "might be nice for my future kids" - even though i don't want kids and i'm happy living without huge sums of money. i love my mum dearly, but it's very difficult to approach any of this with her.

i think i underconsume, if anything (though i don't think that's a bad thing). i try to be ecologically-conscious and orient myself around taking only as much as i need from the environment and preserving what i do take as best i can. i don't think toys and enamel pins are inherently evil as much as their mass production is. i'm not the most clued up about the logistics of consumerism, but i imagine haul cultures would be less of a thing if items were made to order Just in Time, especially if they were to cost more as a result.

Quote from: BlazingCobaltX
I thought our family collection of 1TB was a lot, until I saw people talking about how they manage their 10TB collections. I find that a bit concerning.

this resonates with me. my friend has a large cardboard box full of variously spaced unused drives which he picks up second-hand from scrapyards. he likes tinkering with hardware; ergo having backups in case things fail. still, that's a lot of tech that could be used by other people who can't afford to buy it first hand. i don't think it's bad that he buys tech like this (it's his special interest and his money after all!), but having a conversation about all of this was useful for both of us. i guess sometimes it takes another person to introspect!

i try to keep my file system under 1GB - which has worked pretty well for me. i find that, as a file system grows larger, it becomes more unmanageable.

anyway, that's my 2 cents of waffle :)
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2024 @257.94 »

I have pondered this before, and my answer comes down to 'no'. I don't tend to buy mainstream geek stuff like Funko Pops or blind bags. In fact, I only actively pursue Nendoroids, and very rarely at that. Most of my geek stuff is fanmade, purchased from the artists directly in convention environments. In a purely monetary sense, it all goes to the artist.

Now, there IS a problem in geek and academic spaces with overcollection. It's not just plastic figurines - it's also books, which libraries and auction houses have to sort through, and some get thrown out regardless. There's an air of preservation to it, in that if you have it, it's safe from things like fire and mold and theft. It's delaying the inevitable, nothing last forever after all, but it comes from a good place. It can spiral into overcollection very easily if not kept in check.

Communities of collection like the Lost Media Wiki tend to mitigate this by turning the collection process into a group effort. They share the hoard of knowledge and media and items as a collective, and all of them bear the fruits of their labor with the world rather than hide it in a box or basement. It's all interesting to think about, and makes me wonder what IRL museums have in their archives that the public can't see. As an aspiring archivist, it's one of those things that fascinates me thoroughly.
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2024 @388.70 »

I would argue, since you asked, that geek vinyl figures aren't much different from cloth hauls. Both are, in my opinion, an attempt to build identity through consumption. In capitalist societies, people often lack the time to seek transcendence through their own doings; they are alienated from their daily work, but lack the time to pursue things that they believe in. To surrogate for their need of self-realization, the capitalist system offers them to built individuality through the purchase of fetishes - cloth, figurines, pictures, but also cars, beverages, etc. I would say that I believe that this neither work nor satisfy the people, but since it is aggressively promoted and - as an easy way - quite tempting, one is fast to fall into this trap. Even though I'm aware of the mechanism, I often fall prey for it - I've especially much more music instruments than I can realistically play with my time available. The collateral damage is often the consumers themself, the people who produce, and/or the environment that is exploited.


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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2024 @695.47 »

I feel like datahoarding isn't really that big of a problem if it's only on like, random drives that you only hook up when looking for something. I've got like 3 different drives for my databackup, but they dont use any power until I actually need anything from them. And even in the grand scheme of things, a random person with a 40 gb media drive isn't really doing anything compared to the crypto shit going on, and the data mining and all that awful awful stuff.

anyway, yeah i've been thinking about it actually, the overconsumption. I always think like, "do i already have something like this? do i need more clutter?" etc.

I used to collect Playmobil a few years ago, especially Playmobil animals, but I stopped after I got myself the big victorian mansion. I will still buy an animal if it's cute/interesting, but I haven't had any on my wishlist for a long time.

I love miniatures and tiny lil stuff, but I feel like, stuff like enamel pins, stickers, keychains etc are not the biggest issue when it comes to overconsumption. Rich people collect far more unhinged stuff, and the ones that like, re-decorate their interiors with every season, every year.

When I look around my home, most of the furniture is very old, thrifted, etc. There's a few "ikea pieces" just for practicality, hehe.

Idk, my post is just rambling honestly. I think most of us, even if we have a lot, it's honestly nothing compared to what is really overconsumption. But the fact that we also contemplate the issue, shows awareness, which is super.

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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2024 @40.38 »

I think I'm guilty of this as well to a degree. I have lots of games I just end up with that I stopped caring about later down the line. I've started selling some of that stuff, but most of it is jank that nobody else wants.

I also go through phases of collecting random stuff. One year I was super into collecting strategy guides. Now I just have a big heavy pile of books, most of which I will never read.

I used to also collect books specifically from charity shops. In Scotland, and the rest of the British Isles, thift shops are usually run by charities as a way to help a cause and get something yourself in return. I would always make an effort to buy something from them to do my bit...

I used to also have this thing where I would play or watch every single entry of a series, regardless of whether said entry was actually any good.

Safe to say I've got a lot of shit I don't want...

There's an air of preservation to it, in that if you have it, it's safe from things like fire and mold and theft. It's delaying the inevitable, nothing last forever after all, but it comes from a good place. It can spiral into overcollection very easily if not kept in check.
I think this is part of it for me. I'm a bit of a prepper when it comes to media. I guess it comes from the fact that growing up, internet has always been unstable and we always have random moments where we're offline for an hour or two. I've also seen stuff disappear entirely from the internet. It's caused me to overconsume stuff as a result.

Now I'm aware me owning stuff doesn't affect how preservable it is, but I still intend to keep a big part of my collection because I enjoy using the media in question. I like having an authentic experience. Watching an old movie on VHS or Laserdisc, or playing a game on an old console on a CRT with the original media, etc., but I try to be more careful of what exactly I buy nowadays, and think if I'm going to play something more than once, or find some other value from it.
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2024 @977.50 »

Lots of good points in this thread. I very much agree with ThunderPerfectWitchcraft's thoughts about how people build identity via consumption.

I used to be the type of the person that collected "brand" type goods: pokemon cards, video games, 'official merch' type things. I'd keep the boxes that these tchotchkes came in, the whole works. Then at some point all of that seemed completely pointless and I mostly lost interest in it (probably when i started moving apartments frequently and had to lug all this crap around, haha). Gave away / threw out most of what I had.

I still have a few physical collections, but most of them are consist of mementos -- collections of artifacts from larps I have done, art made by my friends, etc -- I try and cultivate collections that don't grow by buying things, but instead by making memories with people.

My one collection that's still mostly consumerist is that I'm trying to collect exactly one card from as many different trading card games as possible. Though this does feel like a communal project w/ my friends in many ways, getting us excited to share all sorts of old weird games and tidbits, having something strange to show people.

Unlike a lot of people, I don't really have the preservation instinct. Generally, I'm okay with letting things go and be ephemeral. I get a lot of joy from getting rid of things! There's this great video by Jacob Geller about digital hoarding (among other things) that feels relevant to this discussion, would highly recommend.
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2024 @997.84 »

I thought about this related to my hobby of collecting vintage tech and video games. I feel it's less harmful as it's second hand stuff that was already made, and it's even good that I keep them 'alive' instead of they ending up on a garbage dump, but there is still a fine line where it can become an obsession and just hoarding. I noticed this especially with games, where I just buy them because they're a 'must have' or critically acclaimed or I liked them when I was younger, but now I don't have the time to play them or I'm missing the emotional connection. I try to go through them consciously from time to time and either stop myself from buying more or selling those that I think I don't really matter much to me.

I also noticed that as the size of the selection grows, so does the importance or meaning of your choice diminish. If you have just one or a select few of something, you can get attached to it. If it's a game you'll likely complete it. If it's a music album, you will listen to it many times, learn the track list, immerse yourself in the cover art, lyrics, etc. If you have a shelf full of them, you won't even know which is the right one for your mood right now. They'll all mean much less to you. So it actually makes sense to create artificial limits for yourself.

I have the same approach to digital hoarding even though I have to admit, I'm worse at keeping that at bay due to the nature of it. Just copy everything over to an external hard drive and leave it there, "might be useful later". But I try at least once a year to declutter those as well and delete stuff I'm sure I won't need or archive those properly what I'm sure I'll need, but probably not in the near future. The biggest task is to go through the photos and select the best ones and those that actually mean something to me.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2024 @7.58 by neongod » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2024 @913.50 »

"Are my toys and enamel pins really that different from fast fashion and Stanley cups?" No, they are not, the only difference is you're interested in something different than what other people might be.

I have collections of all sorts of things; books, 8mm film loops and projectors, 45rpm singles, postcards... I see myself as more of a custodian of these things rather than just a collector and look after them as best I can.

The postcards are already over 100 years old by the time I get them. I document them and they go in acid-free envelopes to protect them. The projectors were last made in the early 1980s, so most I have are already over 50 years old. Those are documented, cleaned, and if I am able to, repair them.

Are what I collect worth the thousands of dollars I've spent over the years? Are they worth the thousands of hours I've used to gather and look after them? To me, absolutely. To anyone else, probably not.

Some of what I collect are already bequeathed to various museums. Of my history books, things like the 18th century book of drawings of local churches will probably be of interest to our local museum. Anything published after around 1940 will probably end up in a landfill. Sad, but that's the way things are.
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2024 @882.97 »

This I can relate a bit since I'm a comic-book collector.

Many years ago I bought nearly everything, thinking "all comic-books are cool, there's no bad comics !" and ooooh boy, how wrong I was. It felt like a brainless worm trying to chew on an iron giant. I wasted a good amount of money buying many comics I thought I needed. In 2013-2015, I had a huge reality check with my hobby since my room was cluttered with comics everywhere and I hadn't read everything.

For a long year I felt super bad but I was really afraid to sell/give those thinking I'd miss some kind of important run or issue that would transcend me forever. With some outside help, I cleared the room and made a huge cut into what I own and what I was buying. I've read every single comic and sold the ones I didn't wanted to keep.

Today I have a set monthly budget and I carefully choose what I buy. I also make a point about reading everything I buy and I don't go back to the shop unless I've read what I bought. What I thought was valuable before, isn't anymore. I've found pleasure into reading with my heart instead of reading with social media/outside influence.

It was hard, it was difficult, but I finally overcame it. I think I'm a normal reader again but when I browse some comic-book sites I see some people buying stupid titles for stupid reasons and I somehow sudder a bit seeing those kinds of posts, remembering how rabid and stupid I was.

I also don't buy super rare or collector issues again, most of the stuff is reprinted nowadays, having a pristine issue of a valuable comic is just super-flexing the Ego. Good for them but I don't want this anymore, I'm a reader before a collector and I think that whole problem taught me a great lesson.

However, I don't try to pretend I'm knowledgeable on everything comic-book related and I stopped reacting with my immediate thoughts. I have the comic-books I actually read and like instead of having the latest "Crisis On Infinite Spider-Verse Retailer Variant 1:100 Virgin Covers Signed by ArtistOfTheMonth !!!!1!". It's satisfying to be free from this. So perhaps people will compare my comics to a wall of funko pops. Good for them, all I know is that I have comic books that I enjoy and read, reread and rereread and it's the most important to me honestly. When I die I don't want people to try to get a quick buck from my comics, just send them to a school or library and I want them to be read by anyone stumbling upon them. They'll probably outlast me and I hope that what made me laugh, cry or snicker will do the same for future people. And if it's drowned in a flood or burned by a volcano, then, too bad. Life is life, I'm happy with what I've experienced so far  :ozwomp:
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2024 @57.04 »

Collections used to be about personal passion and interest. For example, I have a curated collection of Occult books, most of which I've actually read and pick up multiple times to reference still! But the collection definitely isn't about what is on trend, and it's not a substitute for or means of social interaction. I have an active social life outside of the internet, people come to my home to play cards and socialize, and my book collection is there on the shelf but nobody cares, and I'd rather keep it that way! I have maybe two friends with genuinely similar interests, and once in a blue moon we will discuss the books subject matters.

I also have a small collection of Fairy Pokemon cards because they are dirt cheap and I like that they are pink and cute!

I think the difference with overconsumption and Stanley Cup Mania is that they revolve around trends, and people are using those things to fill a void of social interaction. So they buy more and more to fill a void. It's not wrong to have a collection or to like Stanley Cups or Pop Vinyl Figures... as long as you have a genuine interest in them and aren't burning money on them just to "Keep up with the Joneses" (meaning: trying to appear cool to others and "buy" their time and interest socializing with you).
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2024 @151.46 »

I definitely think this can also be considered a form of overconsumption. Since you brought tik tok up as an example, i'll just say that there are many tik tok accounts dedicated to showing off massive hauls/collections of geek merchandise. Not even just funko pops, either...all sorts of stuff. So in that vein, geek merchandise is basically the same as people with massive stanley collections.

This is something i've struggled with myself a bit. I've always been more a maximalist, and I love thrifting, so I have amassed a large collection of random stuff. I set up 4 shelves in my bedroom to hold my collection. I don't buy something unless I know I have a place for it. I don't buy things that I don't really want, either. I think with collecting it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that if something fits the collection, it must be bought. At least within myself, i've noticed that once I internalized this, I bought less overall and valued the collection even more. With some things, the desire to collect went away entirely, which tells me that it wasn't even necessarily that specific collection that I liked, it was the thrill of the hunt.

Like I said, essentially everything in my collection is thrifted. I can't remember that last time I bought anything non-essential new.
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2024 @721.71 »

I'm a maximalist too, although I'm less so now, and I have an inherited book-hoarding problem that I'm trying my best to combat against by avoiding bookstores at all costs and donating books I've read and don't want to keep to the local Friends of the Library. Right now, actually, on my desk are a good few books that I need to sort through and rearrange! It's a work in progress but I'm much better now than I used to be. I might have to set myself a book-buying limit, though, when I move out on my own soon. Meanwhile, I really need to continue weeding out my digital hoard as well.
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