The value of time
That's the VERY first thing that is brought up the second Thingies and Stuff is mentioned. "WTF is with the crazy prices?" "Why are you charging so much?"
Does nobody on earth actually READ anything? You look at a number, and make all assumptions based off of that alone, COMPLETELY ignoring the word "default" in front of it, and completely ignoring the payment section of the page in general. It's in clear, easy-to-read text immediately below the episode list, I'm not sure why it's so difficult to locate.
And for anyone that has ever said they like my stuff, or expressed willingness to buy it, not a SINGLE person has offered me even... $5 for something on the site. Not even a coupon to a restaurant. Would you like to know why? I can only speculate as such, but I believe it's because people have no idea what time is worth. When I posted the The Möbius Ring the very first time, there was multiple people clamouring for it. The second it's available... silence. Not even a 'like'. Why? Because they took one look at the price, and closed the page I assume. Make an offer? That requires thinking, and people hate doing that. They want what I have, but at craft-sale prices. I MIGHT have gotten an offer if I put the price at $10.
But what is my time worth then? Approximately three hours labour, that would be me telling the world that I believe my life is worth no more than $3.30 someodd an hour. Let's say I'm getting a reasonable pay for my time... enough to keep paying rent and having a fridge full of food. Let's say... $15/hour. Who is going to pay $45 for a shiny twiddleable? Certainly not the working poor, they can barely afford food, let alone fun trinkets.
And what does that say about me? Do you know what $45 gets you? Maybe a few days worth of food.
Oh, I suppose I could work my fingers until they bleed, and crank out a half-dozen of these a day. Just keep making a massive chain of the same weave, cut it apart at approximately the right length, then join them all, mass-manufacture them. And for that... assumingly I somehow manage to sell every single one, and somehow don't have to worry about the shipping, receiving pay, or bureaucratic red tape that comes with it.
No, seriously... it seems to be almost the most difficult thing on earth to do, exchange one item for another, but with the government's holy blessing. Just for something as simple as exchanging one piece of art for another, the time and labour involved in the actual exchange... assuming all is done completely legally and on the books and recorded and taxes and shit... is far greater than the time it takes to make the product to begin with. So in reality, selling it for $45 would in actually make my time worth less than $7 an hour, rather than $15... which is virtually impossible to live off of to begin with! I don't HAVE a fallback. I don't HAVE an inheritance waiting for me. I don't HAVE savings, and financial stability, and all of these other benefits that many people who criticize me have. Many people have NO idea what is required to stay alive.
Oh, and don't get me started on people saying "Well, I grew up poor, so I know..." NO, you don't. You have no fucking idea. Of the times I've attempted to get said types to elaborate on their early poverty, they never do. "Well, I grew up in 'X' neighbourhood" or whatever, that's meaningless and you know it. You had a neighbourhood? Awesome! For most of my childhood, I had about two neighbours within a square mile, gravel, and fields as far as the eye can see... none of them ours. We had one parent who kept getting laid off, and a home-maker. Most of our food was what the garden provided, planted and harvested by hand, by ourselves. I speculate that nobody who claims to know poverty is willing to speak about it, because they just like saying that, but have no reasonable way of backing it up. They know their own poverty, without realizing that it's going to be vastly, VASTLY different than others. Aww, you didn't get a Super Nintendo until a month AFTER it was released? Let me know when your only source of video games was whatever was at thrift stores and pawn shops. IF we had somehow saved up the $6 to buy the game. Which was rare.
But enough blithering about my own problems, I'm sure half the people reading this probably assume I'm exaggerating like there's no tomorrow anyway. I get that impression from anyone I try telling my tale to (not that anybody ever asks me about my childhood, let alone anything else). Whatever, people are going to think what they're going to think, it's irrelevant.
So... obviously my target market isn't the working poor. They have no money, there's no sense looking to them for some. No, my target market is the 'rich, soft-hearted types who replace $8000 furniture with $10000 furniture, because it "looks prettier".' The people that literally have no idea what to throw their money at any more. The people that have massive houses filled with this expensive furniture, and have little trinkets and doo-dads all over the place to cover all of their surfaces, and... I dunno, be something to look at. At least with MY art, not only is it nice to look at, it's fun to play with, and plenty durable enough to do so without the slightest worry. And soft-hearted. Not everyone rich is cold and uncaring. In fact, I'd argue that very few are... many come into their money by circumstance or family. And many of them want to help others. And that's what I've created... a hook for exactly that type of person.
And the best part? Every word of it is true. The about page? I wrote that while silently sobbing to myself (not that emotion counts for anything nowadays, but still). I don't NEED to invent a sob-story, because my life IS a sob-story. Now, I just need to find a rich person or two who are willing to give some poor slob from the country who's been stomped on his entire life a chance to make it on his own.
Or 'her'. I did most of my videos when I was a girl. It's irrelevant to the proof-of-labour video, so I never really bothered to bring it up. It just... is what it is. But if anything, that's simply another hook. Say this rich person whos interest I grabbed is watching the episodes. They see a bearded guy dressed up as a woman. Never mentions it, never brings it up. Why? What's up with that?
It's a curiosity. It draws questions. And the moment I can get someone to open up communication with me, I can begin to answer questions.
And if there's one thing I know about my life, it's that it can be interesting. I've grown up a fair bit different than most others. Gravel roads down other gravel roads, childhood of poverty, yet well-educated, skilled, and filled to the brim with curiosities? Man, if anyone ever gave a damn about my life enough to write a book about it, there'd actually be some interesting things hiding back there. Not to boast... I rather hate doing that to be honest, but I've got at least a relatively solid background in a whole shit-ton of subjects. I LOVE knowledge and information. It's not uncommon for me to spend hours researching some new subject in quantum physics, or chemistry, or video game lore. Just watched a thing on Metal Gear, it was pretty cool. Props to Hideo Kojima for coming up with such an elaborate storyline. But yeah, history of music genres, identifying trees or plants, cosmology, cosmetology, programming, you name it, odds are I've looked into it at least tangentially.
And then with all of that information I've stuffed into my head, I come up with something to do with it, and I do it. I think this is where a lot of people trip up. Translating coming up with interesting ideas for things to do, or things to build, and actually putting one foot in front of the other. Or at least *try* half-assed, see if I like the direction. And if I really take to something, I put a TON of effort, research, and practice into it. If I'm going to enjoy something, I'm going to enjoy it thoroughly. Dabbling is fun and all, but sometimes it's just best to dive into the deep-end. And that translates to what I love to do... make stuff.
That Klein Bagel? You could whip that sucker as hard as you wanted against a brick wall, and worst case scenario, it might have a bit of a scuff on a ring or two. And y'know, cough up 42K, you could test this for yourself! Not that I'VE tested this, but y'know... 18-gauge stainless steel, very flexible to bounce and spread out the impact, I'm not too worried.
Or y'know, make me an offer, like the entire payment section of Thingies and Stuff says. I'm a reasonable person, and will consider all reasonable offers. I have dictated what I believe hours of my life is worth, anyone can offer what THEY think hours of my life are worth. They don't even have to be remotely close... to be honest, I was hoping the site would be more of an art-trade than anything else. Because seriously, 17 grand? Do you have any idea what kinda paperwork is needed to process something like that? I've gotta dot all my I's and cross all my T's on this shit. Every single possible aspect from every single possible angle must be documented, recorded, saved for god knows how long (6 years, 7 years, whatever, I'll just hold it for a decade), and of course, taxed more heavily than anything I can imagine. That 17K would be hacked down quite significantly at the end of it all. An art exchange though... as long as a value is agreed upon between artists, it could be worth virtually anything. But the numbers still must be recorded, documented, taxed, and all that. No matter what, the bureaucratic red-tape bullshit must be fulfilled, otherwise my life becomes forfeit to the elite caste. And I don't want that.
Hey Metroid-thingy, you've been cooped up in here all broody and stuff. What's up?
*sigh* Not so much brooding, more cogitating and ruminating.
Care to elaborate? We're worried about you, girl. Well, mainly Kraid, but still, been a while since you've been to the bar.
It's a harsh world out there, Samus. Gotta come up with ways to keep food and shelter.
Yeah, about that. What's with the... almost laughably ludicrous prices on that other site?
The rest of society has decided that my life is worth starvation pay. I disagree.
This is what *I* have decided my time is worth. Of COURSE people are going to think it's ludicrous, they want to offer me starvation pay. At least with this endeavour, the value of hours of my life can be negotiated, rather than simply given the minimum.
Basically everything was designed by Nintendo, who I'm hoping still let me keep doing my thing. It's a parody. And free. Did I mention they're awesome too?
Comics, ideas, etc, etc owned by me, blah, blah, legal crap. Look, just don't be a jerk, and it's all good. I'm pretty easygoing, and really don't care all that much... just don't go impersonating me and we're cool.