30 November 2007

Type in "useless expensive presents" and save on that carbon guilt trip

Have yourself some fun this merry buying season, and have it awfully cheap. Type, for instance, "useless expensive presents" into the Great Google, and be struck with awe at its wisdom. Top at the moment, are these two ads (from which I've removed the hypertext):
Golf Gifts 4 Fathers Day
www.in2golf.com.au Great Gifts, Optional Wrapping Fast Delivery For Australian OrdersGolf Ball Gift
www.Golfsmith.com/Gifts Golf Gifts that Impress for Less. Huge Selection at Low Prices!

But there are presents for other serious hobbyists on column right, such as the:
shirt with bottle opener rubber opener sewn into t-shirt Easily open twist top bottles www.tanked.com.au.
Or go straight to a feature article in this month's issue of Australia's (usually useful) CHOICE Computer Magazine: "Christmas gadgets: Geeky gadgets to stuff in your stockings"

If you know anyone who fits their definition of geek, and who's got desk space and a USB with nothing plugged into it: "Deck the halls with USB gadgets" with these "geeky tech tools."

The first four items ("Price paid ... from Mr Gadget" – $23, 16, 15, 19):
  • Christmas tree that has a "long USB cord" and "Christmas feel!" as "The Good", but is "not very bright under normal indoor lighting".
  • Snowman also boasts a long cord. Also "not very bright . . ." but "add it to your USB Christmas tree for a little more colour and holiday charm." See to believe.
  • Car Charger Adapter. "Use this nifty car charger adapter to power your USB Christmas tree or USB Snowman while you drive."
  • LED Ice Rocket: "Not very . . ." But "Much like the USB Snowman but not as seasonal. Has more style though."
Mr Gadget says, "Yes, these USB Christmas trees were featured on Channel Nine's Today show! Everyone's talking about these!"

Or for the same tackiness but in a whole different class, look wherever upmarket goods are sold. At the dentist yesterday, I pawed through a new Australian venture, Elevator, "for people who've grown up", an aspirational glossy as opposed to that magazine for the actual going ups, Elevator World.

From the ads to the promos, the themes in Elevator are as seamless as upmarket periodicals always are. The newest Prada handbag doesn't come in the same green tone as the tree, but is raved over in an article – and stylewise, is not only remarkably similar as the tree, but would look just as much in place at the local $2 shop.

Is this all a message from Scrooge?
Hell, no. I know that the best things in life are free, if you can afford them.

I'm all for spending money and having fun (remembering that there's no cause and effect about this), but on something like a magnifying glass or electron microscope, books to read more than once, mental fishing tackle, access to a place where you can breathe clean air – all stuff that's not half-a-warranty-period from the tip, or a reason to use electricity and dig up resources and fill up spare valleys with garbage and fulfil the definition of 'consumer' as Consume, because it's for sale.

And I'm certainly not saying, "Go out and lash your back with feel-good, topical post-consuming guilt. Scratch deeply into every Hummer you can find. Eat only raw vegetables that you grow." or (horrors!) "Buy carbon credits." Especially, don't buy carbon credits! Better to spend your last credit-limited virtual cent or zillions on chocolate to bathe in than buying carbon credits, those virtue-stinking falsies.

Instead, visit the Corner House for a treat as refreshing as cold herring – which I know isn't to everyone's taste, but that just shows who really has good taste!

The Carbon Neutral Myth: Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins, by Kevin Smith, Carbon Trade Watch

Note: I confess, only to you, that I am a sinner along with the worst of 'em. I lust in my heart for these gloriously offensive firecrackers. But no. That's wrong. What I really want is to walk on the street where they live. To be in the thick of them being bought, then being set off – to live the moment in all its multi-polluted fun. And to fly there, not in Qantas' Oppressed Class, but First all the way. And why not? There's an international boom in luxury travel.

No comments: