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Why do we collect useless items?

Hey, everyone. J.D. here with another week of Apex Money. The week started yesterday, of course, but I had a busy Sunday so didn’t get time to sit down and write up my posts, as I normally do. I’m a day late and a dollar short, as my high-school English teacher used to say.

But I’m here now. I have some links to share with you — and a bit of a rant at the end of today’s post. I apologize in advance…

What’s behind our drive to collect useless items? [The Guardian] — “How did it become normal – or at least not abnormal – to own a hundred of something you’d traditionally only need one of? While hyper-consumers are not new, social media has amplified their behaviour, allowing it to influence consumption and production.” [I am a compulsive collector, but I cannot imagine buying duplicate items just because they come in multiple colors.]

“This is my bridesmaid resignation letter.” [Glamour] — “While money does talk, it’s not giving a solo performance in this decision of mine. It’s also about the mental gymnastics I have to perform to keep friendships unscathed and the internal tug-of-war between keeping my brides happy and my sanity intact. And I know I’m not alone in that—even among you bridesmaids who claim to love the whole experience.”

The food industry pays ‘influencer’ dietitians to shape your eating habits. [The Washington Post] — “Companies and industry groups paid dietitians for content that encouraged viewers to eat candy and ice cream, downplayed the health risks of highly processed foods and pushed unproven supplements — messages that run counter to decades of scientific evidence about healthy eating.”

I wish I could say that last piece shocks me but it doesn’t. I’ve had an inside look at how the world of “influencers” was first born and is now evolving. I trust almost none of it — not the blogs, not the podcasts, not the social media, not the videos.

Why not? Because there are no real standards. Slap the legally-required disclaimers on your website and you’re pretty much free to say anything you want. Even if it’s bullshit. And people are happy to publish so many flavors of bullshit in their quest to chase even more dollars.

Now that I’m (mostly) retired from that world, I’m proud to say that I never took the bait. Oh, I was tempted, no doubt. When companies dangle tens of thousands of dollars in front of you, it seems foolish not to promote their products. After all, who is it really hurting?

For me, hurting even one person was too much.

Anyhow, I’m on a high horse here and I apologize. Plus, I sound like I’m bragging. I don’t mean to. What I really want to do is advise you all to be careful of the advice you get from folks online, especially those who are clearly making money from dishing out that advice. All too often, glowing recommendations turn out to be bullshit.