The "specialness spiral" explains why you buy something and never use it

Originally published at: The "specialness spiral" explains why you buy something and never use it | Boing Boing


I must be a weirdo, because this does not describe my behavior at all.

Now I feel like I’m missing out on all the specialness…


I bought a raincoat. It’s amazing; has pockets where I want them, is soft, is lined. Problem is, I got it in my favorite color - yellow. And once acquired, I realized that if I wore it and stained it, it would never be as gorgeous/perfect again. So I’m somewhat afraid to wear it outside of fancy/decent activity.

I just dug a hole in the yard to plant a palm tree and wore the old leakier raincoat; got mud all over it.

I feel seen.


Yeah, when I buy something and don’t use it, the usual reason is that the use case for it was…aspirational. And there is a shit-ton of nearly unused exercise equipment that shows this is not just a problem for me.


I totally fall prey to this! Not that I never use the thing, but I need to let it sit around for a while, then I can use it.
I bought an awesome hat a while ago and it had to be around for a year before I could wear it. But then I wore it all the time. :woman_shrugging:t2:

ETA: @DiveGirl see, there’s hope for you and your raincoat, yet! :wink:


Nothing the matter with keeping beater clothes around for dirty tasks. When I buy new sneakers, the old sneakers are demoted to “lawnwork shoes.”


Aspirational Use Case is the name of my new band!

If I ever get around to practicing more.


I have long since stopped buying clothes that require special cleaning. But for a while I had nice garments that I never wore because they were too much of a hassle to clean properly.

Then one day I realized they weren’t waiting for a special occasion; they were waiting for goodwill.

Started wearing them all the time and just shoved them in the washing machine when dirty. I learned that most were fine in the washing machine. Those that degraded in the washing machine looked kinda cool roughed up.


When I’ve bought new cars, I’ve always been kinda relieved when they get dinged (once the initial “aw, dangit!” wears off), for this very reason.


Yarn. So much yarn. Ask any fibre arts person and they will have skeins that too pretty and are being saved for something special.


Or paper for lots of other arts.

Musicians tend to play the shit out of their special instruments though.


I have so many things I never use or are my “nice back ups”. I know this stems from when I was a kid. If there was a consumable toy, I’d never use it. Or use it very sparingly. Like cap gun caps. Or stickers, never used stickers just randomly on stuff. I made a book to keep them otherwise I never would have used them. I have sheets from a K-mart no longer even in business because they were really nice and for if my current sheets got all ripped up - even though I have my old sheets still - which have a hole in them, as some sort of “what if” back up as well.

So I think for me there is both the specialness of it, and the not wanting to run out of it.


This was me and journals. I lucked into the solution long ago though and go out of my way to make a mark in a new journal as soon as possible. When we bought our car new years ago we made sure to mess it up a bit just for this reason. That way the first door ding in the parking lot is nothing.


Acquire. Consume. Waste.


I totally get this. Also, the coolness factor of worn things…thus the market for pre-distressed items (not genuinely used, just made to look that way). But then wearing/using it would push it past the look you want. Anybody save ideally-dinged items for a special occasion?

And then there are clothes for when I lose weight: Aspirational Fit.


My nesting partner spins yarn from fibers. Our mutual partner crochets. I’m surprised I can get into the house, sometimes, but I’ll note that a good portion of the (non-fibre arts) craft materials on the supply shelves are mine.


Oh, dear, the “covid-15” has given me a whole box of those. I really should put them in circulation by donating them to the thrift store. Then, “when” (Not if, mind you!) I get back down to regular, I can go find some new used threads.


I’m going through my closet and have 6 bags so far. I only have my shorts and crappy tshirts to sift through now. Some of the shirts are too grody and I should just toss. But I was underweight 7 or 8 years ago, and should go ahead and get rid of the shorts that I won’t ever fit back into.


T-shirts too worn or grody to give away make the best rags for cleaning, oiling wood, etc.


Yeah, I have a whole bag of holey socks for rags. I might ask some of my more mechanically inclined friends if they need rags.