24 Mar 2014

On Buying Stuff

Dimitri writes. One day, Tara and I are discussing toilets, browsing various bathroom-ware on the fondle-slab, and she starts describing how she likes the style of Geberit, and that they are meant to be a good make. Whilst I am no longer astonished when she comes out with opinions such as this (this is just one example from the back-catalogue), occasions like this remind me that her perception of the universe is subtly different to mine. She doesn't notice as my eyes widen in surprise.

A toilet. Don't know what type

It is not that her opinion of Geberit toilets is controversial - I've no idea - it's that she already has a well formed opinion on brands of toilet at all. When I use a toilet, I don't notice its logo. Unless it's particularly unusual, I don't notice the style, and even when its design does draw my attention, I still don't pay attention to the brand. I do notice when it doesn't work well, for instance, failing to flush easily, as is the case with one of my mother's toilets and the toilets at work, but even when this is the case, I still don't notice the make. Therefore, when Tara comes out with well formed opinions on mundane household goods, I can't help but wonder when and how she has developed this point of view. Has she spent time researching these things in the past? Surely not! Why would she? The only conclusion that I can draw is that she pays attention to these things; consciously or subconsciously, I do not know. In contrast, doubtless she thinks that I walk around with my eyes shut.

When she asks me what kind of toilets I prefer, when not giving my standard response of Japanese bum washing ones, I will shrug my shoulders and answer dunno. It takes me time to develop an opinion on these matters. When I decided that I needed a watch, I had no idea what I wanted and very little opinion on them. It took much browsing of shop displays before my taste in watches was slowly and painfully hewn from a slab of general indifference. I find that this is the case with many goods, and while I am prepared to put in the effort for some things (for it is an effort), for others, such as toilets, it's not something that I will look forward to doing of an evening, particularly if there is something more interesting to do such as watching a movie, cooking, cleaning, staring vacantly into space etc. It is from this personal dislike of shopping, or pre-shopping, that I arrogantly conclude that Tara must develop her tastes through general observation rather than researching each and every type of household (or non-household) item on which she has a stance, for she has such an extensive knowledge-base of brands and cornucopia of opinions that they couldn't possibly be the result of dedicated research. There simply isn't enough time. Or maybe she is just much quicker than me (which, in any case, is probably true.)

What this somewhat rambling post really says is that Tara is a good [ed. tara] discerning & discriminating consumer. A professional. (Indeed, friends of ours say that they don't bother researching items that they want to buy, knowing that they can more easily ask Tara instead.) And I am not. I am distinctly amateurish.

Next for bathroom sinks, shower trays, baths, kitchen sinks, door knobs, hinges, plug sockets, light switches...

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