Scene On TV

13 09 2010

My Mother is a sucker for gadgets, gizmos and doodads. I suppose when you are in your 80s and nothing but time on your hands, watching TV salespeople provides entertainment, as well as a way to make those Social security checks vanish.

So when we had to pack up Mom and Dad this summer to move them into an independent living center, we had to conduct a major downsizing. They went from a 1600 sq. ft. house to a 950 sq. ft. apartment. That’s a lot of junk to get rid of. We sorted. We packed. We donated. We loaded. We pitched.

And in the process, we found all kinds of amusing items I have added to my Museum of SYDN. That’s Stuff You Don’t Need. (Feel free to substitute a different S-word if you so desire.)

Ironically, our current recession may be fueling the supply of SYDN items. Turns out that Frugal Freds and Scrimping Suzies are gobbling up these trinkets that purport to save them money.

Like these bottle tops.

But wait just a minute. How much money can we possibly save by putting a lid on a soda can? And if you really want a bottle top, why not just buy your sodas in bottles to begin with? Wouldn’t you save money that way?

And what about the little gewgaw that squeezes the toothpaste tube? I do quite well without such a device, thank you very much. Remember, that old adage about getting blood out of turnips only applies if you don’t spend money on beets along the way.

Now before you dismiss my rant as someone who has completely missed the point of Marketing, let me assure you that I fully understand that our task is to uncover and serve customer needs. But at what expense do we make these offerings? And are we truly meeting needs in one pocket while picking money out of the other?

While Mom adores all these little items, one need look no farther than my Dad, who was born 7 years before Mom, and is old enough to remember the Great Depression. He is the master of frugality. Talk about blood out of turnips. Heck, he could keep a blood center in business for years. No alleged money-saving gadget exists that he did not figure out beforehand how to survive without.

So maybe that’s why Dad is able to turn a deaf ear to those TV hawkers. It’s a scene he doesn’t need or want to see. It’s how birth year (1928 vs. 1921) pits Ms. Spendthrift with Mr. Thrifty Spender.

And it’s how my Museum of SYDN gets stocked in the first place.

Dr “Scene It All” Gerlich

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