I suppose it all goes back to my childhood and growing up in post war Britain during the 1950 when there was still rationing on some things, we may have been on the winning side but materially were hardly any better off than other countries in Europe. The point was that it certainly wasn’t a consumer society as it is today, any ‘resources’ you got back then because they were hard to come by, you tended to look after and imperceptibly deep inside you, the lessons of then tend to stay with you throughout your life.
I have always hated owning things that I don’t use on a regular basis, it seems such a waste and such things become useless clutter in your life often filling your mind as well as your garage, closets, shed or drive. My personal idea of Hell is owning a caravan because once you do, you feel impelled to drag this thing behind you as often as you can or, admit you made a mistake in getting the thing in the first place.
To be fair to all ardent caravanner s, pretty much the same would likely apply to owning a small yacht, light aircraft, jet ski,“track car” or off road motorbike. Obviously there are people who are very keen on all these activities and participate regularly but there are also a vast majority who buy into these activities on what amounts to little more than a whim a bit like a gym membership which is hardly used past the first few sessions. Where I live we have the second highest tidal rise and fall in the World and this does make boating a bit difficult, if you go out unless for a quick pootle up and down the bay, you need to be prepared to stay out 12 hours until the next rising tide. However and whilst saying that, in the 12 years I have lived down here and passing our local marina every morning on my bike ride, very few of these boats ever go anywhere despite the mooring fees and any maintenance costs they may incur.
For the first six or so years I was down here, my time was given over to looking after my Parents so I didn’t get to go anywhere much, gave up smoking and eventually drinking so that despite having a very modest income, I was able to save money to upgrade my computers, software and cameras as needed from time to time. I was considerably aided in this by me not being someone who “had to have the newest, latest and greatest” kit, often the lesser or previous model was/is good enough which meant that I tended to buy the ‘good stuff’ at the right price.
As both my Sons will tell you; “There is no value in old technology”, from a consumer perspective so that the kit you paid lots of cash for new, second hand is worth not a lot a couple of years later. Because of this, when it came to my camera kit, I have never bothered trading in when I bought an upgrade, my view being that I would rather give the old stuff to someone who could make use of it. However just recently I tried something different with what I consider was an excellent outcome. So why write about this ? The truth is that I have never been bothered whether people read this blog or not, have never even tried to promote it and the reason is that it has always been just a space where I work things out for myself because I find it useful for me to write my thoughts down. I guess that means that the ‘Oddity’ may well be me.
Last Christmas I bought a mirrorless camera made by Panasonic called a Lumix G7 because I wanted to look at the technology which included a 4K video capability plus by doing my homework on the web, I realised that I could get a double discount on the retail price which would make it quite a bargain buy. The result was that between January and late September, it got a fair amount of use as I found both its good and bad points and overall I was pleased with my purchase. A big bonus was taking it and a couple of lenses with me on a trip to the USA in September, its diminutive size compared with carrying a full DSLR equivalent was significant and as a lightweight travel set up, welcome. However, this camera will not replace my DSLRs which as I tend to like doing wildlife and some air shows with lots of ‘action’ photography, are still indispensable for me. Never the less the little G7 gave me sufficient other and different options under certain circumstances that it was definitely a “keeper” as a photographic tool so all well and fine.
Then came the Photokina Exhibition in Germany where Panasonic released an upgrade to the G7 called the G80 (in the UK) and whilst these days no longer someone who would even consider rushing out to buy such an upgrade, it caught my attention especially because of it having a metal rather than plastic body plus weather sealing, important because I live by the coast and ride one of my mountain bikes in all weathers every day and combine cycling with photography. There were a few other features too but I won’t be boring about those however of course and here the rub, perhaps with currency movements in mind, price wise this was very much a ‘premium’ upgrade. Of course because I had got such a good price on the G7 originally, the upgrade price looked even worse, £800 as opposed to my original discounted £330.
To cut a long story short, I got in touch with a photographic dealer who whilst they always charge top $ on their retail prices, do offer a trade in facility which as it turned out was very good for me because I was able to unload not just the G7 which I was obviously replacing but three other bits of kit I just wasn’t using. The result was that my new camera cost me nothing plus paid almost half of a new travel tripod with a proper video head it also taught me something else. Whilst I make heavy use of my cameras and photographic kit, I do take good care of them and retain the original boxes they came in so that on my trade ins, I did get the best price possible.
By getting rid of surplus kit that I was no longer using or had to make a concious effort to make use of out of a sense of “guilt” because I hate waste, was quite liberating. Although I only got about 50% of (the as usual) discounted prices I had bought them at originally, as they weren’t being used and just stuck in a metaphorical cupboard, they at least became a realised value that contributes to what I want to do now. Additionally and as there is always the danger that any “upgrade” can be just incremental over the previous model/version, I am delighted to say that this upgrade was really worth having so no “buyers remorse” over this particular purchase.
But the whole thing, exercise and experience did bring a wry smile to my face. In the years following the death of my Parents, I spent a lot of time getting rid of the accumulated clutter in terms of furniture and artefacts that represented their lives as I converted what was formerly their home into mine. What these events made me realise was that now some 6 years further down the line, it is my clutter that needs to be got rid of. So with a fresh determination I now will hunt around for what else I can get rid of before after my demise, my children have to do that for me !