I am driven by a strong desire to collect various items, including virtual collections. Although no research has been conducted in this field, I would like to share my experiences with this compulsive behavior.
I hesitate to call it “collector’s syndrome” since that term implies a more severe form of hoarding or personal attachment to physical objects. My tendency is to collect items without any clear purpose, accumulating as much as possible.
- Collect as much as possible of a certain type of item, digital good, or service.
- Acquire pieces of a collection that I will never actually use.
- Try to complete a known collection if it exists.
- Make lists that can show progress or collection completion.
There are numerous examples, past and present, that can easily define my collection tendency. However, to maintain some privacy and brevity, I will detail only a few.
YETI Coolers products are probably the most expensive compulsion I have. The company releases new limited-edition colors of the same products seasonally, which creates demand. I’m a sucker for this, and when there’s a new color (or even a new product) released, I’m compelled to buy one. I have amassed quite the collection of YETI products, and while some may argue, I do use most of them.
Digital video games are a collection that is easy to get out of hand because there is no physical storage required. When you purchase a digital video game from a platform like Playstation, Xbox, or Steam, the purchase lives in your account, and you don’t necessarily need to download or install the game. In theory, one can buy every video game available and never play or install a single one. Much like YETI products, when a new video game is announced or released, I buy into the hype and yearn for it. I add it to a wishlist to monitor if the price decreases. When a title goes on sale, I usually buy it. To my credit, I rarely pay full price ($70!) for new video games and wait until they receive a deep discount before pulling the trigger. The advent of video game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and Sony Playstation Plus Extra has eased the spending on individual video games as I now have access to hundreds of games through the subscription. This has shifted some of my collection on this front to wanting to install and play every game that comes to one of these services. This only wastes my time, so I consider it a win.
Movies and music used to be a big problem and time sink for me. Acquiring all the latest movies or albums used to take a lot of my time and money. Collecting DVDs/BDs and CDs really scratched my itch when it came to displaying them alphabetically and being able to see my collection every day. I can remember at least 10 times in my past where I purchased a DVD or Blu-Ray that I never opened or watched. I just wanted to have it in my collection. Streaming services and other digital distribution methods have really disrupted this for me, in a good way. Now, I have extended this collecting to video streaming services where I want to be able to watch anything whenever I want. Month-to-month subscriptions thankfully allow me to do that. I can subscribe to Peacock, watch Parks and Recreation, then cancel when I’m done. They’re hoping I don’t cancel to avoid churn, though. Most people just subscribe and forget, and these companies make money on the gym membership business model.
From Beer to Cheese Sticks
A few other examples of my collecting that involve more organizing than obsessive buying include cigars, beer, and cheese sticks. As a beginner cigar aficionado, I like to log the cigars I have tried and whether or not I enjoyed them. I keep a public list of the cigars I have on hand. Similarly, when I drink beer casually, I log it in a way that allows me to look back at statistics, see if I have tried a beer before, and share it with my friends. The app Untappd is great for this, and to date, I have checked in over 1200 beers! Unfortunately, an app like Untappd does not yet exist to track cheese stick ratings. Yes, you read that right: cheese sticks, such as those filled with mozzarella or provolone cheese. I consider myself not only a beer snob but also a cheese stick snob. So when I go to a new place that has them on the menu, I log them and add them to my public database for other cheese stick lovers to enjoy.
It’s not hoarding when you’re just collecting information. Sometimes, I enjoy making spreadsheets, and finding new data to add to Excel is always an adventure. Maybe someone else out there shares my “problem,” or perhaps not. What do you think?