I am not a cheapskate, per say, but I tend to avoid buying things unless I absolutely need them. It’s not that I can’t appreciate modern engineering feats, or am devoid of the desire to live my life to its absolute fullest (does that tie come in Cornflower Blue?). Maybe my experiences are colored by my grandfather’s accounts of growing up during the Great Depression, or that I come from a family where everyone “cleans” their plates. When it comes to acquiring new possessions, I can’t help but think: opportunity cost, time value of money, will I run into a long lost friend turned into virtual acquaintance? You never know.
So it was an interesting experience I had, this most recent “Black Friday.” What a holiday! That day where everyone excuses themselves early from the Relative-filled Round Table to embark upon the sacred journey. Destination? The local Big Box Retailer to grab last year’s hottest Tech at September’s prices.
So there I was, standing in my home office and perusing the latest Bitcoin Black Friday deals, my left hand on the CTRL+C / CTRL+V combos, my right hand managing a growing menagerie of tabbed trinkets, with an entirely separate window opened to my Coinbase account’s SEND page. Eager to “lock-in” some of the price appreciation of what was only two months prior a very minute virtual stack, I had spent the better part of the afternoon perusing, tabbing, and reading merchant reviews.
And then, it began. The culmination of years spent avoiding culturally acceptable consumer holidays, I marauded the shopping cart pages with precision normally reserved for Black Ops Zombies. One minute I was buying soap made from hemp, and an instant later had locked in a six month supply of green tea from a Chinese farmer.
Pretty soon I had ventured into things a bit more exotic: a 1/10th oz gold coin, a groovy hat (will I ever wear it?), absinthe-flavored lollipops (for a minute I wasn’t sure if the site was selling candy or hipster mail-order brides), a “Will work for Bitcoin” T-Shirt (is it safe to wear this in public?), a “California Burrito T-shirt” parodying the state’s flag, and… yes, I’ll admit, more hemp soap.
Unfortunately for myself, and much to the boon of these merchants, I probably overspent. I chalk much of this up to the fact that my trained fingers are much better at copying and pasting BitPay addresses, than my eyes are at transcribing faded credit card numbers. Combine this with the fact that the numeric total of my purchases almost always looked something like “0.0XX” and you have a lethal potion for turning even the most miserly of programmers into the equivalent of Oprah Winfrey at AutoNation.
To be honest, it all seems a bit of a blur now. I won’t know the true damage until the last package is delivered (there has been a steady stream since last week) but it is my intention to catalogue my “tangible” purchases made with Bitcoin, and the merchants selling them to me, on an on-going basis into the new EXCLUSIVE! Pre-shrunk, bubble-wrapped, no-nonsense, totally non-refundable, steal your security deposit kind of series: Things I Bought with Bitcoin.
At times I have doubts about my purchases up till the minute I’m swiping my magnetic stripe on the card reader in the checkout line. With Bitcoin, a QR code demanding payment is only a click away. Only time will tell if my bitcoin-based buying binge will prove ultimately fortuitous. Worst case scenario, I can tell the naysayers that I traded some “virtual tulips” for gold. I will say though, I am glad I went overboard on the hemp soap. While initially very skeptical, it has since replaced my Gillette shaving cream entirely. Haven’t had razor burn in over a week. To quote a gentleman on the soap’s review page, “This stuff left my face feeling softer than a baby’s bottom, if that baby had washed itself with hemp soap.”
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