Let’s say you’re in the process of curating your collections of music, movies, or whatnots. Passing your collecting nadirs, perhaps you’ve become disillusioned with turning a profit on any of your excesses? Maybe you’ve earnestly tried selling decent stuff at fair prices, only to have to deal with timesinks: lowballer, no-shows, or arguments with buyers at stores or through private sales? What if your local thrift store is similarly disillusioned with all these old media?
I can only speak from working at a big box place years ago.
While I’ve seen pirated/burned CDs or VHS tapes at smaller shops, the general policy is to trash anything that isn’t legitimate. It’s a decent business model, but it also means that the packaging we collectors hold dear actually don’t mean much of anything to at least one industry. There are exceptions – to certain collectors, certain packaging to complete limited-edition sets are worth some money. I kicked around an Atomic Purple N64 box in my last few weeks working at this thrift store, always preventing it from being recycled. I’m not sure if it ever did.
So, the value of our CD collections has really become subjective.
It almost seems more convenient to stream albums. I’m doing so right now, but I’m also muting the advertising that not-so-subtly encourages you to pay for the service. After all, if the CD itself is worth nothing to most stores, and most consumers want to live under this pretense of “there’re only one or two good songs on any album,” then what’s the point of ownership? Is it the experience of sitting down with a CD or record? Almost treating the event like some sort of sacred meditative experience? Bonding with the packaging and materialism?
For me, it’s more pragmatic to grab-and-go with an experience.
I’ll usually know what kind of music I want to play for a particular mood I’m accentuating, like if I need to work on something then something upbeat will help, or if I’m doing something more creative than something more abstract will do. These are the subjective values we collectors place with our material objects. Not being interrupted with something trivial seems to compel us to buy into one thing or another. But what happens once our attention is drawn away from this particular experience? What if we become bored and want to donate it?
They’ll price it for a few weeks. If it’s worth anything.
It’s like when you’re going through a deep clean and you’re looking at old paperwork or old clothes. You have a garbage bin and a donate box. They do, too. My job was to keep their garbage bins and “donation boxes” empty. The garbage would go into the compactor and the full boxes would be staged to ship out. There is no altruism. It’s nice to think about, but in reality, we and they both have way too much stuff.
Is the solution to better appreciate what we have?
To stop buying excessively and irresponsibly?
|Sources: My collecting experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to write about why we become attached to things, and how after it’s donated, those attachments are just seen with this objective question: “can we sell this? if not, trash it.” It might help explain why we become overly attached to what we collect.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
— CD essays:
01. Albums: Move, Sell?
02. Luxury of Ownership
03. “Close Enough” Lumpings
04. Last Heard: Pre-Cataloging
05. Album Sorting Algorithms
06. Slow to Unearth
07. Declutter Then Alphabetize
08. Your Music Donations
Above: Trashing some records.
Below: About to trash a CD-R.
|Written On: December 26th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft. – It could use a second pass, but I don’t have the time, and although it’s seemingly random in going back and forth between donating stuff and why we hold onto stuff, I think it’s acceptably written.|