Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stupid Collectibles & SPAM

NOTE: This post was originally titled The Art of Stupid Packaging. I have been receiving SPAM on this as commentary for the last two months, so I assume it's being directed from the Slipcover Collectors website, which is why that link is no longer an active link. Because, you know, I sure wouldn't want folks who think owning slipcovers as a collectible to be mad at me.

Original Post:

So, I'm reading my daily dose of Consumerist to find out the latest in consumer news, since (though I'm opposed to excessive consumption), I buy things sometimes, and I ran across an item where a man is lamenting the fact that he is unable to purchase Blu-ray DVDs with slipcovers at his local Target, since Target discards custom slipcovers in order to cram the Blu-ray packs into the hardshell plastic anti-theft cases they use to display Blu-rays. This seems rather sad to me. The poor fellow goes out every week and buys the new releases, because he collects the slipcovers. Who can he contact at the movie studios or distribution places to tell that, what Target is doing to the Blu-ray packaging, because it's really important -

Wait, what?

He collects DVD slipcovers?

I guess I'm a little dense. Why would you do that? Do you watch the films? Do you realize the cost of buying a limited-edition slipcover is often a $30 movie? How much stupidly disposable income do you have?!?

Sure, I get that the Criterion Editions are often packaged in really interesting covers, and often come with cool booklets and extra information. But who gives a flying fuck about the latest Justin Bieber concert movie slipcover???

It gets better. There's a website: Slipcover Collectors

I understand, this comes under the heading of other people's money, and who cares what these oddballs decide to blow their hard-earned cash on, but still. This is so freaky-weird I don't even know where to start. Well, okay - try the FAQ page. I notice there are no comments at the bottom of the FAQ page. Perhaps I should help...

There's a wonderful book, originally published in Japan in the early sixties, called How To Wrap Five Eggs. It's kind of a sourcebook/inspirational guide to thinking about packaging design. Of course, being Japanese, there's a certain something about it that I find endlessly appealing: the uses of natural materials, especially, but also the eminent practicality of some of the designs: how do you transport 20 small fish to market with a only a short length of rope? You can't bundle them up, as the friction would ruin the look of the fish, destroying any "curb appeal" they might have. Plus, they're slippery. So, you link them together with a series of slip knots, so that each fish has it's own little loop of rope, none touches any of the others, and you can sling the whole thing over your shoulder or over your back. Simple, neat, practical, and looks kinda cool. Of course, the Japanese fisherman doesn't give a hoot about cool, he just wants to sell fish.

But slipcovers? Slipcovers...

You're collecting a mass-produced item, whose sole function is to make you want to buy an expensive movie, 90% of which are crap, where no particular artisanship is required, other than to get you to buy the movie. Most people who buy movies are buying them either because they want to watch the movie over and over again, or because their kids do. The slipcover itself, is, of course, the first line of attack by any marketing person, and it's gotta be a grabber (and I'll admit, the slipcovers for the Alien series of films are pretty arresting). But buying the film so you can own the slipcover for the Denzel Washington/John Travolta version of Taking of Pelham 123 (a trainwreck of a movie, and I'm not taking about actual trains, here), along with the latest Hannah Montana and the Superman Batman Apocalypse video - I'm not sure I understand which medication is required to make these people stop.

It's a hobby, I guess. Beyond that, I don't know what to make of it.

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