I have pretty well given up shopping for pleasure. Not from any holier-than-thou-ness, but rather, from an utter disgust of what the market offers. It's just not fun anymore.
Guess what, retailers: one size really really really does not fit all. No, I don't want to buy summer clothes in the middle of winter in Canada - I need to replace my torn longjohns, and can't find any, thank you very much. And no again, I don't want yet another black sweater, especially one with spandex in it that accentuates every pooch and bulge. Or a lavender one either, even if some plebe in a fashion industry cubicle has decided it is this year's color. Lavender makes me look like I've been run over by pansies. Every year.
Don't even get me started on bathing suits.
So "au revoir!" I said to the mall. "Arriverderci, Chinese-made shlock that's identical to the shlock I can buy in Milan or Milwaukee." I'll keep my cash in my pocket and wear the same old stuff that's filled my closet for the last ten years.
But then, I met Etsy. Etsy, Etsy! You are my new best friend!
If you haven't met my pal Etsy yet, it's time for an introduction. Etsy is an online marketplace where makers of handmade goods can sell them directly to their customers. Like eBay, but for crafty stuff.
Suddenly, thanks to Etsy, I could find something unique. Something handmade that doesn't cost a fortune. Something quirky, with a style that matches my own. No more black spandex, whether I wanted it or not.
Goodbye mass market crap. Hello one-of-a-kind.
The Long Tail indeed.
So I bought a couple of scarves, just to test the waters. The first one is to go with my ancient hot pink patagonia parka, the one that has travelled twice to Nunuvut (tho I've only gone once.)
Here it is:
Now anyone who knows me knows that I like a) pink b) flowers. Isn't this just the ticket?
I bought a second scarf too - one to wear to schools when I do my author presentations. I'm considering pairing this one with a mustard yellow sweater. What do you think?
And what gal doesn't need a Duh-Vine handbag?
I got two.
I love love LOVE my new book handbag, made by "Retrograndma" in "sunny Saskatchewan." I can't wait to show it off at our next Torkidlit meeting!
My even more juvenile self couldn't resist a handbag made out of an old LP. Remember LPs? I chose one made from a Monkees album. It features a song that was popular with my college chums way back when in the now retro 80s: Take the Last Train to Clarksville. Ahh, Memories...
It occurs to me that in a few short years, my book purse will be a relic of a long-gone age, much as my LP purse already is. But for now, at least, it's just a darn cute accessory that suits my occupation and avocation. Bookworms, unite.
Now I do realize that my taste is not everyone's, and many readers may laugh when they see what I spent my hard earned loonies on. But that's exactly the point. I am not like everyone else. I am a one-off, and so are you.
While I understand the economics behind the mass market, I don't like it. I don't want it. I say no.
Instead, I will take my small stack of coins and hold onto them until they make a nice little monetary fortress. And then I will look for items that I want, not what someone else tells me I should want. I will deal with a supplier who is responsive to me (gee! they replied to my email! Take that, HP, whose printers I will never buy again). One who might even make a scarf to order for me (I'd like a black fringy one that looks like the illo of my dog Marley in some of my books). And yes, I know I will still probably go to a big box store to buy printer paper, and to a department store to buy jeans or undies. But more and more, I'm going to shop more extensively direct - via eBay, Etsy, and Farmer's Market. What about you?