OMG! Give it to Goodwill

There’s a debate in our household about hanging onto stuff. My husband feels that the stacks of clothing on the shelf in the walk-in closet may be useful one day. A pair of jeans is useful, for someone. But I argue that the dozen or so new pairs of pants purchased in the past decade leave the old ones out of date and ill-fitting. And thus the function of the neglected garment has changed. An old pair of Dockers no longer serves as the vehicle to looking business casual appropriate. It now serves as clutter, or dare I say garbage.

The use of an object is different than its function. If I can separate him from a few of his items, they then become a donation to Goodwill. They may serve as a tax deduction. And when Goodwill processes them and sells them they become income for the non-profit. The flow of ownership changes in this scenario is driven by the positive values at each trade. But functions can have negative values too. Clothing may be too torn, dirty, or tattered. Then the Goodwill would bare the expense of disposing of them (although this may not be the best example as I’ve heard there is a market for rags).

So to review, an object or good can have a use or several uses. A bench can be sat on, lied on, and stood on. Perhaps a skateboarder could even use it as a prop. In that case, the function of the bench is a skateboarder’s sliding support. Notice what happened. By focusing on the function, we’ve denoted a group of people who would use the object in this fashion. Now having skateboarders transform public spaces into skateparks is not always welcome. So we have another group of people who feel a loss by the transformation of a public space.

Voila! Tagging a function to an object delineates groups of people who trade for its use, depending on how its value affects them. We are shown the marketplace.