The GuardianThe Guardian

‘Oddly satisfying’: What’s behind our drive to collect useless items?

By Amelia Tait

24 Aug 2023 · 11 min read

informed Summary

  1. In a trend that’s been dubbed “one-in-every-colour capitalism,” consumers are increasingly buying the same item in every available color, a phenomenon that’s been amplified by social media.

Mariana Conti Schwartz has one daughter, two dogs and 103 stainless steel drinking tumblers. The 40-year-old from North Carolina works from home running her family business, Big Al’s Pub & Grubberia, and likes to match her outfits to her reusable cups. Pink, purple, blue, green and grey “Stanley Quenchers” are lined up like soldiers on clear acrylic shelves across her kitchen; Conti Schwartz estimates she’s spent $5,000 (£3,900) on the lot.

Yet perhaps the most exceptional thing about her exceptional collection is that it is not exceptional at all.

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