Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Man's Treasure...

Working in an antique shop, I think the phrase I hear most often is a variation on 'We had these when I was a kid'. Or, 'My mom had this when I was growing up.' Always, 'my mom'.
At first my retail-tuned ears would perk up at this, thinking that now they would obviously have to buy it. With an emotional attachment to the object, how could they leave it behind? But leave it behind they did. In fact, they usually leave the store pretty soon after. I think today I finally realized why.
Seeing a memory from their childhood, an object tied to their past and their mother and their precious individual experience among the stacks and stacks of other peoples' crap, of course they leave. This commodifying of their personal history must at best jarring, at worst painful. It doesn't really matter how I arrange the objects, or the care I put into writing the tag. The bottom line is that I have placed a monetary value on a piece of their past and have lumped it in with what must suddenly seem an offensive conglomeration of stolen goods. Sitting innocently behind the counter marveling at all the history in these treasures and trinkets, it somehow escaped me that the objects themselves don't just have their own stories to tell; they also bear the heavy burden of others' stories.


It certainly casts the two rings I bought earlier this week in a new light. I wonder what damned spots they bear.


1 comment:

  1. Nice to meet a fellow Columbian...uh Columbusite... uh, Columbuser? You know what I mean! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you're liking Columbus! Victorian Village is such a beautiful place to live!