Show Me Your Wish List
What does it mean to want a thing? What does it mean to want this thing so much that you verbalize that request? And what does it mean to want it so very much that you name that desire in front of strangers — potentially, in front of the whole wide world?
Perhaps that final question is inherently flawed. Maybe the desires we name publicly are not what we want the most. It is easier to say “I want a Smeg ’50s Retro Style Aesthetic Coffee Grinder, CGFO1 (Pastel Green)” than “I want a love that is present, real, and passionate and tender and funny, with good boundaries, lots of space for me to make my art and be by myself, something that is monogamous but flexible enough to ride the waves of closeness and distance, and we better both be in therapy or have recently been in some great therapy, because I’m not here to fix your shit and you better not be here to fix mine.”
Hard to fit the latter on an Amazon wish list, and I’m 100% certain they don’t stock it in any of their warehouses. But you sure can get a lot of other stuff from Amazon, and I decided earlier this year to find out just how much.
More specifically, I decided to find out what individuals and charities had requested as gifts via the Amazon wishlist function. Then, naturally, I decided to see what strangers would buy off my own Amazon wishlist. But first, I had to learn how to make one.
In the beginning, I found it to be a slightly uncomfortable exercise. It felt a bit shameful, in fact. Selfish, even. After all, I have everything I need. I don’t have everything I want, but why should I? Life would be boring, and my apartment would be terribly overcrowded. Besides, despite what wildly unchecked capitalism will tell you, nobody has the inalienable right to possess every single object about which they’ve fantasized.
I have a very privileged life. Why should I post a list of random things and invite strangers to buy me stuff? Wouldn’t that seem greedy?
In addition, I am aware that Amazon warehouses are plagued by what one NY Times investigation termed…