Curating Consumption #4

We’re back with another round of some curious, provocative, amusing, and frightening observations that come from our daily experiences as researchers and as consumers.

Related posts:

The Proud Parent

Ideally parental love is unconditional love. And when you love something or someone you want to tell everyone how great they are. It’s not that disease or disability should be hidden away in shame, but what aspects of our lives do we choose to announce and celebrate? It’s not uncommon to hear that people with Down’s Syndrome do have a number of uniquely endearing qualities that are particular to the syndrome, but is that what’s behind this parent’s vanity license and license frame?

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

Of course this is a kind of service; I’m not surprised to learn that it exists but I’m still surprised to see it in my daily travels. I was certainly struck by the 2012 touches, using aspirational words like “grooming” and “beautification” (over the more common  “maintenance”). And why not put the (delightfully alliterative) name of your business on your hearse-black vehicle? You never know where you’ll find customers! Perhaps even when parked in front of your local coffee shop.

Disarmed

I came across this during a recent hike by the ocean, painted on one of the few large concrete blocks spattered about the landscape. I was taken aback by this image/text combination and immediately created a narrative with two dueling characters. First comes the antagonist, whose symbol of choice is a weapon, and later comes the protagonist who uses language to diffuse and reframe this act of aggression. Of course it’s possible that a single artist is responsible, but why would the hero deliver a message – intended to disarm – with such heavy artillery?

More Waste for Less

Here’s Steve figuring out where to dispose of the trash from lunch. In the Bay Area, composting bins are getting pretty common in public places and along local trash pick-up routes. “Trash” is no longer a catch-all term or container. Composting is the new recycling. Green is the new blue. There are more bins plus posters and pamphlets that explain what goes where. For example, in some places the chicken leftovers go in the trash, in other places it goes in the compost bin. Disposable paper plates or plastic utensils are tricky because they might be compost, or recycling, or the trash. Ironically, the quest for more environment and consumer-friendly waste management involves the creation of more trash (i.e. bins, bags, and signs) and more confusion.

Tamara Christensen

Tamara is the founder of Tamara Christensen Consulting. She loves to talk to strangers and is intrigued by how people narrate their lives and what their stories reveal about how they make meaning. She is driven by a desire to uncover everyday creativity in the way people establish rituals and relationships.

Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal is the founder of Portigal Consulting, a bite-sized firm that helps clients to discover and act on new insights about themselves and their customers. He writes regularly for interactions magazine, Core77 and the Portigal Consulting blog, All This ChittahChattah.

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