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Collecting Stuff is for Idiots - convince me otherwise


Chest Rockwell
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I have never understood the concept of collecting something for the sake of it. What am I missing?

I'm not talking about stuff that you actually use (e.g. Music, films, books - unless you leave it in its packaging and don't ever listen to, watch or read it). I'm not even talking about stuff you keep because you think it might be useful at some point. I at least understand the mentality even it it does lead to hording.

I also get that some things are for the purposes of display - that's totally understandable.

Nevertheless it doesn't explain 'collector' behavior.

Linked to that, I think, is completionist behavior. Finishing something because you've started even though there is no value in doing so (e.g. watching Lost to the end). My theory is these are similar as they are both mildly compulsive activities that you know are irrational.

Does that ring true? Is there something about the appeal that I'm missing? I don't expect I'll ever want to collect, but I wonder if there is something simple about the fundamental appeal that I've just missed...

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Can I just state my case right here for having the stupidest collection on the forum? I currently own several hundred thimbles which I have in two enormous holders up in the loft. I have never sewed, I never intend to sew. I collected them between the ages of about 6-15. You'll be shocked to hear that I was an only child.

Fuck knows what the motivation for it was. It couldn't have been to look cool.

Edited by Gus Mears
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I didn't even know that was a real thing to collect @Gus Mears. Dr Albright on 3rd Rock from the Sun collected them. And accidentally got some Turkish nipple armour confused as a thimble.

Is there a thrill to the hunt? Some satisfaction of chasing a particular collectible? How does that work when you're creating a collection that could never be 'complete'?

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I collect stuff. But whilst I do occasionally get carried away and buy something utterly useless for the collections I don't consider myself a completionist or hoarder. But I'm sure there is a connection to my very real OCD.

I definitely obsess over them. But unlike my negative aspects of OCD like hand washing & obsessing over negatives, I find collecting helps keep me focused on something I enjoy and even settles the negative OCD.

Also there is a sense of personal identity I derive from collecting. 

I actively collect and obsess over Funko Pops, Pokémon Go, CD's and Blu-rays right now but have various other collections like Grease 2 or Neighbours autographs, animation cels, trading card, toys and comics which I sort of rotate my obsessive nature to. I mention Pokémon Go as really its essentially a game driven by collecting.

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4 minutes ago, Chest Rockwell said:

Is there a thrill to the hunt? Some satisfaction of chasing a particular collectible? How does that work when you're creating a collection that could never be 'complete'?

I think it was the potential for it to be infinite that enticed me. That seemed far more interesting than a collection with a defined end point. Why thimbles specifically, I don't know. Seem to recall my Gran taking me to a tourist attraction and offering to buy a memento from the day and then choosing that. Evidently decided to go all in after for a while though. 

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Mrs insists on collecting all the Harry Potter books. I get completing the set, but buying the same book over and over again with different covers? Eh? I don’t think she’s ever planning on re-selling them later on either. 

I think they’ve just re-published all of the books which are all available within each of the four house colours. The bare-faced bloody cheek of it.

Haven’t got many feelings on Potter good or bad from the books or the films, but they take the fucking piss with their merchandise. The books are one thing, but at the Harry Potter studios they’ve converted at Leavesden, they sell house gowns - which are essentially just a black curtain with a cheap badge knitted on them, for something ridiculous like £80 a pop. New football kits don’t cost that! 

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6 minutes ago, Chest Rockwell said:

Cheers for that  @DEF  , hopefully needless to say I don't think you're an idiot and the title of the thread is just me being flippant.


Very interesting point about how it gives you a sense of control and focus.

Oh mate no worries. I'm pretty proud of my collections. It's the OCD that makes me a idiot. Pretty common that people that have OCD recognise that it's utterly ridiculous.

It's a good question even for someone that is a collector. It's always good to have a bit of an introspective look at ones self. I've got mates that much like yourself don't really get it and it's an interesting topic. I'm a pretty visual person so I think I get a lot out of displaying and looking through this stuff. 

It occurs to me as a kid I used to LOVE transformers. Would get one every chance I could back in the 80's. Suddenly I was around 12-13 and I can remember getting quite sad that I had give up all that stupid shit up.

Transformers themselves were no longer in shops and were relegated to charity shops and car boots. Not only that but for the most part my peer group had 'grown out of toys'.

My Mum basically said to me who cares what other people like and be yourself. Getting the permission to be myself from someone I respected was a big thing for me and I did just that. It meant seeking them out in charity shops and car boots. Often coming away with nothing but the hunt was definitely part of the fun.

 

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I've collected stuff at various points in my life. When I was a kid I collected comics - proper comics like The Beano and that. I had hundreds but never read most of them and then one day when I came home from school my mum had thrown them all away, unannounced.

Then I went through the VHS / DVD collecting phase and, again, I never got close to watching all those. I abandoned all those a few years ago and I barely own any DVDs save for a couple that I couldn't find to stream online.

Now it's trainers. But I don't think I've ever collected anything useless or weird or been a hoarder.

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I don't think I've ever really collected anything except coins - and that was because my great-uncle left me his very extensive collection when he passed. I was never an enthusiast, chasing after rarities; I just added various foreign currencies that I might have got from guests or foreign exchange students, or just obtained on holidays. Got some good ones, though, including a lot of pre-Euro stuff, so francs, drachmas, marks, krone, pesetas and escudos. Even got a 10 franc piece from two editions previous to the Euro, so that'll be worth a fair bit if and when I trade it in. But like I say - I'm a casual collector. I mainly just hold on to them because I couldn't be bothered to get them valued and sell them on to a proper numismatist.

As to completionism - I definitely have that, although I wouldn't say I have OCD. When I look at most of my compulsive behaviour, it's driven by a chronic FOMO. If I've got into a series or movie, even if it goes to shit I'll watch it to the end, because I want to know how the story went, and don't want to risk that I'll miss out on the odd gem floating in shit. There has been one occasion where I went to my limit and just thought "Fuck this": Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time series. First book was good. Second was OK. Third was mediocre. By this point, I was invested, hoping, rather than thinking, that it would start getting better. It didn't. It got progressively worse, and by Book 10 I was weeping inside, held hostage by my irrational curiosity. Come the end of Book 10, I resolutely decided "No more", and that was that. Even though I heard that it got better when other writers took over following Robert Jordan's death, I have never wanted to resume.

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I think it's just a different mentality, there's no point trying to convince anyone to change. I collect loads of stupid stuff and I couldn't part with it, my housemate doesn't keep anything. He just sold his record collection, I couldn't believe he sold the "coolest thing he has" and he can't believe how much joy I get from owning a few stupid things. Nothing could make either of us more like the other but we still understand each other. 

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