Sunday, March 05, 2006


In today's world, luxury goods get all the attention. Wikipedia defines "luxury goods" as a good for which demand increases more than proportionally as income rises; that is, goods that have high income elasticity of demand. In simple terms, luxury goods are goods that add little practical value for the hefty price they carry.

But it's the opposite kind, the inferior good, that really makes a difference in the life of the average man. For just a few dollars (or less!), they will add endless pleasure to your life. Today, I'd like to hightlight three inferior goods I've acquired in the past year that light up my daily existence:

  1. The toilet seat cover: ever since I picked up this bright green cloth toilet-seat cover, I no longer cringe when I sit down to take care of business on cold days. Worth: daily moments of desperation. Cost: RMB 3.
  2. The non-stick frying pan: tired of using a wok to cook things that need a flat-bottomed pan, I picked up a frying pan on a shopping trip to Carrefour. The non-stick surface not only cuts down on oil usage, but also makes for easier flipping of pancakes and french toast, and saves scrubbing at dish-washing time. Worth: quarts of elbow grease. Cost: RMB 69. (Carrefour also carries non-stick pancake griddles.)
  3. The electric blanket: Jodi suggested this one, and I'm glad she did. I have a life-long warehouse-full of memories that include me pulling the bedcovers over my head and breathing deeply to heat up the ice-cold sheets. No longer, as the electric blanket does all this before I even hop into bed. Worth: teeth-chattering fits. Cost: RMB 69.

What inferior goods make your life a little brighter?


At Mar 5, 2006, 9:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said:

Can't deny that Teflon pans are convenient. But they're very carcinogenic, and the toxins will accumulate in your body without release (much like Scotch Guard used to, before it got pulled for health reasons). The fumes are also toxic, although that's still being studied. At the least, it's worth hanging on to your old frying pan, for when you're cooking dishes that don't really benefit from a teflon surface.

At Mar 5, 2006, 10:11:00 PM, Blogger Micah Sittig said:

I dunno, I'm still deciding if I care enough. I mean, does my worldview compel me to try and live as long as possible? Maybe so, maybe not. At this stage it doesn't, but I'm not completely convinced by the framework I've put together hence the indecision. Of course, I look both ways before I cross the street, but I don't go looking up the chemical content of everything in my house.

Thanks for the warning, though. We'll make sure to keep the wok handy.


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