Tuesday, November 27, 2007

do you have a hula hoop?

Well I'm back from my Thanksgiving break and made it back. While I was visiting my parents, I had an opportunity to do some holiday shopping, or at least some holiday window shopping. It got me thinking about how every season, the pundits in the business press try to figure out what the must give gift of the year. Is it electronics, a cabbage patch kid or a TMX Elmo or an iPod. You get the pictures.

It got me wondering which of the "must gives" remain an active part of our lives. It's not universal, since everyone has gifts that they like. But it is fascinating to see a product capture the Zeitgeist of our times. It's amazing how small differences in a product can make a huge difference in the way we use it. I have a 2nd Generation iPod that I infrequently use. It's more for collectible value right now than anything else, however, I have a 1st Generation iPod Nano that I use all the time, this despite the fact that it has less space. I'm debating whether to buy a new one with more memory, it's not essential but would be nice to have. So the iPod was a "must have" that really mattered. I wonder about things like toys which are more novel than have utility.

I find it interesting that we spend a lot of time (and money) trying to figure out the perfect gift for that special person. how odd that that that special gift ends up being so general when we get the must have. We get caught up in the must have to stand out that we end up looking like everyone else.

i think back on all the fads and fashion disasters of the past. i think of the hula hoop and those films of the past where everyone had to have one. who has a hula hoop now? how many hula hoops are there in landfills? And will we still be wearing Crocs for a long time?


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