Sunday, May 07, 2017

How is there a Market for Mugs?

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I have many mugs - enough to use a different one every week for half a year without repeating them. But the thing is that I don't collect mugs, nor have I particularly gone out of my way to buy lots of them - I've generally picked one up as a souvenir on my travels, thus having one from each of the countries I've visited (though I don't have one from Germany or from the Netherlands - I'll need to go back). I do have a few others that were bought for me as gifts, or for other reasons, but the majority have been from trips - meaning a rate of aquisition of one or two per year.

And despite that, I have some thirty mugs, with the vast majority of them never being used. Indeed, they're of negative value - not only do they not get used, but they fill up space that would be better used for other things (and, what's worse, I have to clean them periodically, because they accumulate dirt and dust over time, and there's always the risk that someone might visit the flat, have a coffee, and select a mug at random - that mug really shouldn't poison them!).

I've even actively tried to solve part of the problem - my current work mug is marked as not being dishwasher-safe, and yet I deliberately wash it in the dishwasher (I know, so rebellious). My thinking here is that one day the design would wear off, at which point I would discard the mug and switch to another. But no such luck - the design remains in pristine condition.


I find myself in a position where I have a huge number of mugs without ever going on a massive buying spree. I'm also reasonably sure I have a larger than average number of mugs. And while I have acquired a few in the last year (mostly presents for my 40th birthday), I haven't actually bought a mug for a few years now.

That being the case, I have to wonder: how is there even a market for mugs? I mean, these things are produced in a huge variety and in significant numbers, so presumably someone must be buying them... but who? Surely most people buy one or two when they first move out, probably pick up one or two more as they wear out or get damaged (or lost)... but surely that's not enough to support the whole market, which seems to be pretty huge?

Or is this just another area where we have a whole cycle of people buying them as presents for other people, who then hold on to them for a while before gradually binning them? Are people effectively just the digestive tract in the anatomy of some great mug-devouring beast?

(Incidentally, and since I'm sure it's the question on everyone's lips, I currently use four mugs. My favourite mug remains the black one I picked up on the band's trip to Brittany a few years ago. When that is in the dishwasher (it is dishwasher safe), my backup mugs are two Star Wars ones I got for my 40th birthday - one with Kylo Ren on it, the other with the First Order Stormtroopers on it. My work mug, and the one that fiendishly resists my attempts to wear it out, is another Star Wars mug, a Christmas gift this time, dedicated to the legendary 501st Legion. It's fair to say there's a bit of a theme in the mugs people get me as gifts.)

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