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Easily Beatable Recon
A cautionary tale of greed and excess
If someone recommends a product online, I am contractually obligated to now spend my money. Oh, this person “swears by” a Japanese exfoliating face towel in a newsletter for product recommendations? Count me in. This Gawker editor on Twitter says these are her top five favorite books? I gotta buy at least one! Blackbird mf Spyplane dropped multiple Ebay links for old US Open merch?? Yes, I need this!!! And that former GQ guy said he doesn’t buy expensive white shoes, just gets a new pair of white Old Skool Vans every 4 - 5 months??? Looks like that’s my entire personality now!
No one wants to be like this—the very least me. This is the dumbest way to live. For me, an email alert from a guy whose t-shirts quickly sell out of stock is the closest I will get to dropping pure liquid Vyvanse down my iris. The rush of buying an XL heavyweight cotton blend tee with four words screenprinted on it for $55…the pure dopamine hit of knowing you’ve got a hoodie coming in 7 - 9 business days that just says “ACID TRACKS” on the back and your mom will keep asking you what “this jacket is all about” and you genuinely do not know what to tell her…the giddy excitement of clicking “Checkout” on a pair of shorts that will ultimately satisfy you less than a normal pair of Patagonia Baggies but you had to buy because Adam Pally said on a podcast that he’s been trying to branch out from Baggies and these are pretty tight…tell me this lifestyle doesn’t make you wet!
I am a slut for recommendation culture—give me all the “curated lists from cool people with cool style,” the brands these tastemakers swear by. I will try your favorite products. Let me walk in the shoes you have once stepped foot in; let me taste the toothpaste you “can’t live without.”
Because here’s the other end of the spectrum: if I find something on my own and like it —The Virgin Recommendation Follower vs. The Chad Personal Taste Developer—I will spend months ruminating, pondering, deliberating over whether I should even buy this stupid goddamn thing anyway.
One day, months ago, I was perusing a website. This is a normal activity for me—definitely not out of the ordinary. I love to browse sites. And I love to browse ones that have products for sale. That’s just something about me I can’t really explain.
This one was a website called lichen, stocked with furniture that half of you will roll your eyes at and the other half will see and unsubscribe on the spot. (You’ll be missed!) And what happened to catch my eye but a beautiful, sleek Thing…
Look at this shit. It’s so perfect. I want to touch it so bad. You can just tell it has an incredible weight to it, a considerable heft.
This incense holder (if you’ve made it this far, surely you’ll allow me to type the words incense holder without vomiting) was $65 USD including taxes. For weeks—months, maybe—I waffled back and forth: Do I really want this thing that bad? No, $65 for a metal incense holder is self-parody. But doesn’t it look so sleek and clean and nice? No! It’s sixty-five freaking bucks! Am I even an incense guy?
And then one fateful day, after Harry pretended that he slipped Felix Felicis into my pumpkin juice, a surge of adrenaline caught me by surprise, and I pulled the trig. How happy I was! I just made a purchase—shouldn’t I go celebrate? It doesn’t matter that mere days earlier I spent more than $65 on a t-shirt in about two minutes. This was the thing I needed to complete the gaping hole in my character!
I was elated. But this happiness—as all happiness is wont to do—proved short-lived.
What the fuck?
Yooo…what the fuck?
It was time to go Customer Service Mode.
After “just following up on this, thanks!” I got a response—naturally.
A new color…? I don’t give a shit about a new color. I just wanted the Thing. I just wanted the Thing from the Store that does Furniture / Projects / Coffee. Was that too much to ask?
Reader, as I’m sure you guessed: they did not work on a new color, and they did not update in the next month or so (I checked).
There’s a lesson to be learned here: spend all your money, as fast as you can, with little regard for prudence or savings. You will pay handsomely if you don’t. Because five months down the line, you’ll still be thinking about the incense block at a $65 price point, and you’ll find it once again in stock but on a Canadian site (because the designer is from Vancouver) for $78 CAD, which—when you add international shipping—comes out to around $78 USD. And then, once again, you are left wondering: “There’s no way I should spend $78 on this thing, right?”