Overkill Objects for Everyday Life
I routinely make a fool of myself when I tell friends I want a Martin Baker ejection seat as a chair in my living room. Of course, with the pyrotechnic charge removed. Seriously, I would totally buy it if it weren't $5,000 on eBay and I've got a watchlist to remind me if a new one shows up for a steal. Whenever I need to buy something, the first thing I do is try to think of the most overkill version of it. Perhaps in an industry that doesn't serve retail customers or an unrelated industry that never thought of selling their products to consumers.
Here are some concrete examples.
Beer in a beaker
Who needs fancy Schott Zwiesel glassware for the kitchen when you can order a set of Borosilicate glass from Duran Wheaton Kimble?
Does your glassware meet ASTM Specification E960, Type II requirements? Is it manufactured from 33 expansion, low extractable borosilicate glass conforming to USP Type I and ASTM E438, Type I, Class A requirements? I didn't think so.
Used to contain a life raft. Now, my groceries.
Yep, it's $19.95 in new condition. Made in the USA from military grade nylon and heavy duty canvas.
Dough for your dough
This Hobart mixer made in the post-war era is tempting, usually goes for $200-$2000 on eBay depending on the condition. Why do you care about the condition? It was built in Ohio when we used to make things in the US. Everything is repairable. Buy one that's broken and fix it, you've got the dough for life. Less waste, better dough.
Try a defunct manufacturer, preferably a military supplier
SMA connectors for 50 Ohm Coax? Why not something from a mil-spec supplier that is defunct? Omni Spectra makes the best quality SMA connectors, bar none. About the same price for a little odd-smelling pouch from Guangdong.
OSM SMA connectors. Get a bunch of them for a fidgeting toy.
Class-1000 Cleanroom grade toileteries
Need napkins for your car? Why not TexWipe? They've got everything from ear swabs to floor cleaners.
Utility Knife (combat ready)
I needed a small utility knife when hiking or going out in the woods. Wouldn't it be awesome to buy a U.S.M.C. World War II M9 bayonet instead?
A good utility knife can run you over $100.
For less than $100, I can buy a short USMC Short KA-BAR or a real M9 from Ontario for $150. This is the real thing, used by the US military.
Summer is here, need a fan? Download a commercial catalog! (warning: PDF). Yellow is perfect color to match for the summer theme in the house. Safety yellow decor.
Recommendations for places to shop
- Ebay. Protip, let's say you want a cool bag for traveling. Go to Aviation parts category and then restrict the search for "bag". For fun, sort by highest price first. Another tip is to search with "NOS" or new old stock.
- Craigslist - a classic.
- Facebook Marketplace - People sell all kinds of stuff. It's getting popular.
- Junkyards near you - Got nothing in mind and want to kill time? Skip the trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond.
- Military surplus stores (many on the internet). I grew up using binoculars dad bought during his trip to US from one of these stores. Zeiss glass is nice.
- VWR - This is my kitchen goods store. Usually sells billions of dollars of things to labs around the world.
- McMasterCarr - I just bought a commercial grade first aid kit from there. Perfect place to look for a creme brulee torch. No BS, just great UX.
- Digikey - Legit, avoid eBay for small electronic components. Want to buy LED for a christmas tree? Stop right there. Close the Amazon tab. Buy a whole strip from a legit supplier from Digikey, it will come with a datasheet too! It will be at your doorstep in 2 days.
- Store closings, but ask for stuff that's not listed for sale. See if they want to sell the ceiling fan for $10.
Consumer goods suck. You keep buying them.
The average consumer is an idiot, so the bean counters keep milking them. Let's stick RGB lights in what used to be the BMW, you know the ultimate driving machine. The entire consumer market is rotten. TV? It's going to come with smart apps. Get one from NEC that's meant for commercial use.
The average consumer wants this stuff. It sells. They want pizzaz over functionality and durability. They want shiny stuff in a bigger box.
The Onion is reality. I don't think corporations/businesses are to blame. We're not voting with our wallets and instead regressing into buying more fricking touch screens. The average consumer is extremely ill-informed, sometimes that's due to the lack of time, but more often than not, it's due diligence.
The industrial, military and commercial market doesn't mess around. They want to purchase equipment that works reliably and performs to a specification. It's professional and their livelihood depends on it. It sort of self filters the entire market. Shitty things drop off the radar due to poor sales.