The Collector

He entered the shop just to look around. He had nothing in particular that he was looking for that day. As he turned the corner he saw a display that caught his eye. There were figurines from his favorite childhood show. He felt something that he hadn’t felt in a long time. The marketing message behind the display read “collect all 12”. He really only wanted to own his 3 favorite characters that he had a fondness for as a child.

So that day he bought 3. He had the perfect shelf to put his collection. He could now enjoy it every time he entered the living room. He was happy with the 3.

He went to websites and looked at all of the accessories that went with these figurines. There was one that he really liked. It was a diorama that recreated a scene from the show. He bought it and set it up. His 3 figures looked amazing against the back drop. The problem was, every time he passed the shelf he saw the empty holes where the other figurines were supposed to go. They really would look great on this display. All of his friends would enjoy it as well when they come over and maybe they would see their favorites in his collection.

Getting the other 9 was going to be pricey but it had to be done, so he dipped into his emergency savings. He really needed to feel complete and without those figurines he was going to have trouble sleeping. So now he had all 12 and he felt complete once again. Sure, he didn’t like the new 9 as much as his original collection but that didn’t matter. Everything was perfect.

A week later he was on the internet, and probably because he had been to a few of the fan pages related to his collection, he was getting ads that said “coming in 2 months” and there was a picture of a new set of 12 figurines. The collection was now up to 24!! There was 2 in the new group that he was really excited about. It was a long 2 months. He stopped enjoying his collection and became more focused on looking online to see all of the new stuff that he desired. If he expanded his collection then they won’t fit on the shelf anymore, so he invested in a large display case in anticipation of his new purchases. The case looked so empty. He couldn’t wait to fill it.

A year later he had all 100 from the collection. At this point he wasn’t even sure why he was still buying them because he really didn’t enjoy the new figurines. But if he didn’t have them, his collection wouldn’t be complete. He could never enjoy what he had because he was always looking for what was next.

As he was passing the case something caught his eye. The 3 original figurines that he loved so much were way in the back and he could barely see them on the crowded shelf. He pulled them out and set them on top of the cabinet. He no longer had that feeling he once had for them in the shop. They now represented this obsessive hoarding that caused him a great amount of anxiety. This needed to stop!!

He put the entire collection up for sale and he even sold the display case. He didn’t come close to making his money back since the figurines were so mass produced that if someone wanted one they more than likely already owned it.

He found himself in the shop again but this time not to buy figurines. He had already moved on. He saw someone looking at the display longingly like he once did over a year ago. The marketing message behind the display read “collect all 250”. He said to the guy, “You don’t need to possess it to admire its beauty. It becomes less special when you see it every day. Enjoy the fact that you got to see it here and that you had the opportunity to relive a piece of your childhood. Once you take it home it will lose that connection as it becomes a burden.”

Updated on: July 28th, 2018