What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

stuff with somebody else’s name on it

on August 7, 2014

The game goes like this: the Promotional Items Super Supplier says to the Small Ernest Entity, “I’ll sell you stuff with your name on it so cheaply you can give it away. You’ll never miss the dime this nice pen costs, right? And people will take it from you and thank you for it, because they love feeling like they’re getting something for nothing. But every time they use that pen, they’ll see your name. It’s advertising practically for free! So how many pens do want? Fifty? Ha-ha, you’re joking, right? We can’t supply fewer than a thousand. But remember, your cost per ‘touch’ is practically nil!”

So Small Ernest Entities are duped, and out of pity and politeness or addiction to consumption, we accept their embossed trinkets. Our desks and drawers grow cluttered with calendars, notepads, pencils, pens, bags, cup cozies, coasters, tubes of lip balm … and only rarely does such a “gift” save us from buying a product. Mostly they add to our collections of items we might need someday. But all of them have somebody else’s name on them, and that name says, every time we see it, “Regard me! Remember, and be loyal!” Yes, we learn to filter it out, but it’s still there, clutter in the sensory manifold, requiring tiny little decisions of us that, drop by drop, swell the ocean of decision fatigue.

Only the PISSers win this game. I wish the Small Ernest Entities would see that it doesn’t really work, that they lose what they put in, that most of these items drag down the general quality of life because they’re just one cut above junk, that when resources are wasted the whole Earth loses.

key rings and fly smearers

key rings and fly smearers

Here are four promotional items. Though I hold the Small Ernest Entity named on the key rings in kind regard, and bear no special ill-will toward the other, I won’t have them in my house any longer. I’m getting out of this game, much as I can. And I say to any who’ll SEE it, “Put your name only on what you make that’s useful or beautiful, that contributes to the common weal. Don’t spend it on what doesn’t satisfy.”

shedding style: refuse, throw away

Comments welcome … have you (like me) ever resorted to extreme force to get another “free” pen into your pencil cup?


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