BMcC[18-11-46-503]'s adventures as a consumer of products

"Well, do you want...?

In 1969, I wanted one of these wall calendars to put on the wall of my efficiency apartment. There was a modern design store ("The Store Ltd.") in Baltimore Maryland, where I lived, that had one on its wall, near the cash register. I entered the store and requested to buy one. The clerk told me they were out of stock but they had them on order, so I should come back in a couple weeks.

I did come back. What they offered me was something different: a wall calendar with flip cards for setting the date, but the proportions were not right and the construction was cheaper. No, I did not want one of those. I wanted a calendar like they had on their wall.

The clerk responded to me, almost threateningly, but definitely accusatorily. She asked if I wanted the one they had on the store's wall. After being momentarily taken aback, I replied "Yes". The clerk did the right thing, and I got my authentic Danese wall calendar.

So I have a consumer product that actually saw service as a store fixture like the cash register, not just inventory.

So I bought my calendar "used", but in a different sense than meaning a consumer consumer product for sale had previously been owned by a consumer as a consumer product (e.g.: "a used car").

Inside the shrink wrap...

In 1979 or 80 I heard the Europop singer Amanda Lear's records. in a friend's record collection. I wasnted my own copies. but I could not find them anywhere.

I wtote to the Record Company asking how I could find them to buy. They sent me back free two copies of each of the two records. Did you ever here of somehting like that?

But the really weird thing was something else: As said, the reords arrived shrink-wrap sealed in cellophane, as I would have expected. The one record ("Sweet Revenge") had a fold-over sleeve you open up and it's a double-page of pictures and text inside. Not unknown. But included in the material in for two fold-out pages was a small picture of Ms. Lear brae breasted. In one of the two copies of the record this picture was intact. In the othe copy it had been cut out, leaving a perhaps 2 inch by 2 inch hole in the cardboard record sleeve. So somehow in the record company somebody must have cut the little picture out before the LP got shrink wrapped. That's the end of this story.

Why ot try?

I have covered this elsewhere (here). Books are consumer products. The reading public reads them.

I ws so strongly affected by Hermann Broch's "The Sleepwalkers" that I wrote the publisher and asked if ther was anybody left ther who knew him. Fan mail of a sort. Maybe they figured that anybody who was interested in a writer as obscure as Broch was harmless? They sent me the names and addresses of the two persons to whom they paide royalties on his books. From that I becamea friend of Broch's son. But was it even legal for them to give me that information? I doube I would have got such aresponse if I was looking for Stephen King.

Edge case?

This is another story I have covered in detail elsewhere: here. Is a Patek Philippe wristwatch a consumer product? It seems it can be considered suh if one includes "conspicuous consumption". I had a big fight with them, as I have explained there. So maybe I ws the dissatisfied customer from hell? In retrospect I regret I had not anticipated that they were going to do and consequently had failed to take documantary photographs of the watch, the consumer product, I complained about. Because without photographic evidence it became largely he said she said and "the fish that got away", played out at about UDS 20K (2000).

Contrarian consumption

I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) do not like being jus a consuler of consumer products, which I was I was childreared to less-than-be. Especially I did not want to become an MRE in Nam. Since at that time (1979) I was still submitting to being haircutted (here), I would probably not have objected tobeing"drafted" to serve on the staff of The Army War College Fort Leeavenworth Kansas in a position where I would also have continued to learn. That would hav been a fair exchange, a win-win. But not to be consumed as a product (a "G.I.").

in my two jobs (clerk in the Registrar's office and managing the Museum gidt shop), I got to see things a different way. I didn't own the prieless works of art in the musuem's collection, but I did get to put my hands on them and look at them after the museu was closed and not only was the public no longer consuming it as a consumer product but everybody on the staff except the night watchman had gone home too. And I easily got to be on good terms with the night watchmen. I could do what I wanted and they did not bother me.

As Museum Shop Manager, I got to be on the producer side. Armed with my book o blank purchase orders and auhorization to buy anything I wanted for resale in the shop, I go tto know craftsperson who Produced the produucts, and not just any products but fine handcrafts. And I did not jus tbuy form catalogues. I visited their workshops and studied their works and picked and choosed based on an apparently exceptional esthetic sensitivity. If consumer products are duck-rabbits and ordinary consumers see ducks, I saw rabbits and also the duck-rabbit nature of he whole thing.

My mos radical adventure in Consumer Productland, however, was when I commissioned the wood sculptor Mark Lindquist (1979) to make me "a bos with no nails and no glue". I paid him $10,000 to do whatever he wanted and whateve he would make for me would be OK and if I got nothing back that would be OK, too. In other words, in that one instance I was not a consumer of anything: a was a smalltime Renaissance patron of the arts. Hi, Lorenzo de' Medici, how's it going today? You're a bit lion and I'm just a little house cat, but we're both felines, Meow!

I could have done better but I did not do nothing

I could have dont better but I did not do nothing. I tried to be better than a consumer of consumer products. But surrounded by consumers of consumer products for the most part, starting with my clueless parent swho wer dupes of "The Amerian Dream" Type 1 (here), I was always trying to sail into a headwind, sometimes stiff more often just me clining to a piece of jetsam in the middle of a vsat empty ocean of sonsumer products and nobody rescuing me. I did try; how mwny try? And, or course, a few are not only born wit ha silver spoon in their mouth but actually do something of value wit htheir good fortune. NIMBYNext

+2024.02.10 v023
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