stuff gets examined.

Posts Tagged ‘consumer

In the Future #4

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Thanks to inattention on my part, there’s a boondoggle on the direction of “” that takes viewers here instead of the actual current version of Balloonland. I’m posting In the Future #4 here so my fan and regular reader can see it anyhow, until the kerfuffle is fixed.

Click on the picture below if you want to see the whole thing.  navigate away from this page as quickly as possible if you don’t want to get involved.


Written by balloonhed

October 4, 2011 at 11:43 am

Entropy in Action

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Our family car is so full of reusable grocery bags, we have trouble putting anything in it.

Written by balloonhed

July 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

In the Future #1

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In the FutureIn the Future

Hanging out with Intravenous Drug Users

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I used to hang out with intravenous drug users, due to an association belonging to my roommate at the time.  Mostly cocaine, but sometimes other stuff that i had or had never ever heard of.

There were two types of dealers in this netherworld – those that did do their own product, and those that did not. The ones that did their own product usually had you come to their place to purchase, which was usually a squalid apartment furnished with lawn chairs and an unusual number of second-hand mattresses. They dressed like, and usually were welfare recipients – Giant Tiger track pants and t-shirts with weird and dated logos on them. They took the bus or rode their bike if they were meeting you away from home.

The ones that did not do their own product usually met you at some 24-hour restaurant in Vanier, a rather shady part of Ottawa. They wore sharp suits or fashionable sportswear with lots of gold jewellery.  They usually had very, very fancy cars. I don’t know if any of them were on welfare or had other jobs.

The dealers that did their own product were usually living just on the edge of being in trouble with their upstream providers – they always had a tinge of desperation about them. They were generally happy to advance you some if you were broke and they knew you, especially if you were going to hang around on their mattresses and share.  I suppose the willingness to sell on credit was some sort of lazy putting off obligation till another day – a sale has been made and money will come. Some of them would also accept payment “in trade” or valuable objects. If you didn’t pay them in a timely fashion, they would get increasingly more desperate and angry, and would eventually fly into a rage and beat the crap out of you if they found you insufficiently accompanied by friendlies.  They’d take anything you had, books and CDs if they got into your place, even if it had no real sale value.

Users of their own product were usually vastly suspicious of my presence, a friend who didn’t use, hanging around.

Dealers that didn’t do their own product never sold on credit to regular users. If they knew you very well, and you had a stellar reputation, they might advance you a small amount. I’m not familiar with what happened if you didn’t pay back in a timely manner in such a case. If you managed to convince them you were a possible franchisee, they’d lay a goodly quantity on you with partial payment or on credit.  I was a secondary witness to and heard of several other occasions where the recipient messed up and used or lost the merchandise without getting an appropriate amount of money for it – it usually involved guys in balaclavas kicking in the door of debtor’s apartment and smashing the place and the occupants up. The actual dealer involved could be reliably found in his usual haunt while this happened.  Non-using dealers never accepted CD players and the like in payment.

Non-using dealers always congratulated me on the fact I wasn’t using.  They’d buy me drinks, confidentially wonder why I was hanging around with such losers, and give me rides places in their fancy cars (more than once as a trustworthy go-between to pick up some cash for someone). And eventually each and every one would get around to offering me a free sample or a limited-time-only reduced price selection of products.

I think of this little period in my life every time I think of current purveyors of products – The Execs at Blizzard Entertainment who don’t play World of Warcraft, fit and healthy directors at junk food and cigarette companies, builders of  tiny overpriced yuppie-hutch “exclusive executive lofts” who live in sprawling one-of-a-kind country chalets or century homes.  So much of the modern world depends on the appealing, addictive qualities of products and the common person’s inability to moderate or properly value things, which is reinforced by the constant demands of making enough money to buy critical consumer crap and then deal with less important needs like rent and food.

Written by balloonhed

May 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

Everyday Alphabet – Zz – Zombie Zeitgeist

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Zombie Zeitgeist


Written by balloonhed

February 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm


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The following things are Crap: stuff that may amuse in the moment, but will eventually end up in a junk drawer or box of miscellaneous stuff. And likely broken.

• Non-brand-name toys made in China (especially those annoying little rip-off toy cars that lose their wheels immediately)

• Pretty much anything put in a kid’s “loot bag” from a party.

• Toys that come in fast food kid’s meal in order to make kids make you buy them.

• Almost anything from a “dollar store” that isn’t bought with a specific purpose in mind (i.e., nails, tape). And, more often than not, once the specific purpose they were bought for is met, they become crap: I’ve had the misfortune to cross paths with a number of one- or two-use dollar store screwdrivers, for instance.

• 90% of stuff for sale at shopping mall kiosks.

• Kid’s stickers

• Virtually everything in a souvenir store or stall at a fair/carnival/etc

Crap is a modern innovation that comes out of the consumer desire to fill a hole with something. Usually, that hole is an instant gratification urge or some desire to express individuality by owning unusual or unique (to your immediate world) Crap. Children are especially vulnerable to the Crap urge, and parents, in their efforts to quell the cries, are the biggest enablers of Crap vendors. Holidays and special events are also big entry-points for crap – the urge to fill a stocking with “novelties” often results in a bunch of stuff that seems amusing in the moment, but just breaks and otherwise gets left around to annoy.

I speculate that the propagation of Crap is as big a threat as bigscreen teevees and cars to the long-term health of the world. It’s largely unnoticed – it doesn’t get advertised on teevee, and is very cheap. I suspect it would be difficult to find out how much Crap is manufactured and sold every year.

We need to realize the negative impact Crap has on us and our environment. We need to stop enabling the production of Crap.

Written by balloonhed

February 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm