Sunday, May 10, 2009

Facebook Marketplace Finally Put To Use


For the past two quarters, I have been borrowing an office chair from my friend back in Berkeley. Originally my friend made the statement that he would loan it to me until he would need it back. Unfortunately, I understood that statement as, "It is yours to keep and it's on me." Consequently, my time finally came and my friend had requested for the chair to be returned back to him this past weekend. Due to my lack of better comprehension of his original statement and adequate amount of time allocated to find a new chair, I returned the chair to him and was forced to use my desk by kneeling on the floor. Without consideration of how much money I had in my account, I immediately came to the solution that I would simply buy a new chair. Within a few hours of making this decision however, it finally occurred to me that I did not have a lot in my account all the while there was still a dire need for a chair. In addition, I was not willing to step down to the use of a mediocre chair because the original reason why I borrowed my friend's chair in the beginning was to replace the discomfort of the chair I had prior. While keeping in mind of all the demands and limitations that I had in this seemingly simple piece of furniture, it somehow crossed my mind to look into Craigslist for a quality chair at a cost that would not break the bank.

In pursuit of a new chair, I had subconsciously made mental notes on what qualities I wanted - hydraulic raise and release, rubber roller blade-like wheels for easy mobility, sophisticated mesh design, high head rest, adjustable arms, etc. I have never owned a chair as described but have on numerous occasions seen examples of it on advertisements and films, sitting in the rooms of top executives in luxurious furniture. But when I finally came to a conscious realization of what exactly I was looking for, I realized what I was looking for was not the functionality but rather the image. It simply looked appealing through propaganda and media and thus drew me to its appeal. In other words, I was no different than the bourgeoisie class who wanted aesthetic value while the working class wanted what would last (Kawamura 2005). In addition, I also realized that the purchase of this chair was not so much for comfort but more for the appeal, furthermore finding myself in the position as a "conspicuous consumer" - one who goes through lavish spending for the sake of maintaining a particular image or social status (Veblen 1899). After being hit across the face with these realizations, I spent a good amount of time reevaluating my criteria for a chair and eventually settled with a chair as displayed in the image on the left for the cost of $10 from Craigslist.

It seems to be no coincidence that this somewhat thorough thought process over a mere chair was a product of the Compact Challenge being embedded into my studies. The fact that I have been exposed to this term for the past several weeks has made me reconsider much of my spending habits and my mentality when purchasing new products. It for certain is not an ideal way of consumption based on the way that I have been raised. But it has certainly saved me a lot of money and have been slowly developing a new habit that I think in the long term will benefit me.



Hugo Da Rosa, Blog #3
Reference 2 Source: Veblen, Thorstein. (1899) Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions
Image Sources: http://www.watsonsofficesupply.com/zencart/images/officechair.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/3nd3m33l7ZZZZZZZZZ9590be5eaaf7d7c125d.jpg

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