No word captures the essence of consumer capitalism better. More clothes, more food, more computers, more toys, more electronics, more books, more magazines, more cosmetics, more cars, more houses. And no other business model represents this better than the XYZ-of-the-month clubs which have been popping up all over the place. Subscription commerce, they call it.
But what about the opposite?
You don’t have to be particularly wealthy or clinically diagnosed with hoarding to (at least occasionally) feel like you’re getting lost in all the crap in your apartment or house. And if you’re anything like me, you can’t bring yourself to get rid of stuff you don’t need for a simple reason: the hassle of taking it to Housing Works (or another charity).
To fight the plague of accumulating crap I came up with a business idea: after you sign up, you get an empty box in the mail with a paid return label every month. You fill it up with stuff you don’t need and send it back. You then get a $10 check.
How does it work?
The cost of postage and the check along with all the processing costs are covered from the money generated from sales of valuable crap. Remember: one man’s crap is another man’s treasure. The company could either set up its own site for selling cheap interesting stuff (clothes, posters, decor, toys, gadgets, etc) or try to sell in on eBay, Gazelle and other existing outlets. Whatever doesn't get sold can be donated to a charity or sorted and recycled. Hence: saving the world.
Now, who’s with me?