I hate shopping.
I hate the whole process... being sold to, crowded stores... buying stuff that other people don't need just because its the day they were born. I wind up spending money, as most guys do, not actually buying gifts. (As in... You're a $30 birthday friend... You're a $50 date vs. a $100 date.)
Its all very... manufactured. John Cusack captured the feeling best:
“I don't wanna sell anything,
buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't wanna sell
anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or
process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold,
bought, or processed, you know, as a career, I don't wanna do
that...right now I just wanna be with your daughter, sir.”
But today, I just received a product that I bought last week that made me feel different about it, from Etsy. Etsy is a marketplace for all things not mass produced... but as I learned, its a marketplace for people, because you don't just get the item, you get a personal story. It has a community look and feel... when you go on the site, you feel like you're at a fair. Its made just for this kind of stuff... not a one size fits all site where you could sell a lamp, your '82 Chevelle, or women's surplus army pants all in the same place.
First off, it came from Singapore. And it didn't come from some big factory where hundreds of 11 year old kids are running big machines or doing this all day by hand until they bleed. It came directly from Chu Ling, a mom with a 16 month old daughter who isn't feeling well at the moment. She runs a shop on Etsy and comes from a very poor family. She handwrote the envelope... somewhere in Singapore... last week. Something about that is just really fantastic for me... a lot more interesting than just getting a book from someone from Barnes & Noble. In fact, I think I want to keep the envelope and give it as part of the gift.
I bought a purple glass pendant. As soon as Chu received my PayPal payment, she wrote me by e-mail to tell me she'd mail it the next day. When she did, she e-mailed me again to tell me the tracking number, which, to be honest, I didn't even use. She had like 500+ positive buyer experiences to her credit against 0 negative ones and not even a single neutral ones.
I'm very happy with my purchase, too. So no more manbuying for me... where I'm just a wallet making a monetary judgement of a friendship. These things are special an now I feel like I can get special stuff for the people I care about most.
The web is so fuckin' cool.