Stuff makes us sad, especially in America

In the Boston Globe, Beth Teitell discusses Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open their Doors, an accessible, illustrated text that summarizes the research of four archaeologists and anthropologists who did a long, deep study of 32 middle-class LA families, and who report that nearly everything that these families had striven for -- material possessions, good jobs, extracurricular enrichment for their kids -- made them wholly miserable.

The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.

Managing the volume of possessions is such a crushing problem in many homes that it elevates levels of stress hormones for mothers.

Even families who invested in outdoor décor and improvements were too busy to go outside and enjoy their new decks.

Most families rely heavily on convenience foods even though all those frozen stir-frys and pot stickers saved them only about 11 minutes per meal.

A refrigerator door cluttered with magnets, calendars, family photos, phone numbers, and sports schedules generally indicates the rest of the home will be in a similarly chaotic state.

The scientists working with UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families studied the dual-income families the same way they would animal subjects. They videotaped the activities of family members, tracked their moves with position-locating devices, and documented their homes, yards, and activities with thousands of photographs. They even took saliva samples to measure stress hormones.

Boxed in, wanting out (via Making Light)


  1. On the subject of garages “too full to hold cars”, this is definitely part of Southern California culture.  When the weather is temperate year round, the indoor space represented by the garage is far too valuable to just keep a car in. I have friends that use their garages as offices, workshops, practice spaces, and for storage.  I can’t think of anyone I know in LA who uses their garage to store their car.

    1. I have plans to work from home beginning in October.  The garage will be my office.  And the garage will double as a workshop/craft space after work.  I may need a fan in the summer or small space heater in the winter, but I can’t imagine the climate ever being so uncomfortable that it would distract from working.  This is in a fairly spacious, 3-bedroom house, so having more space isn’t exactly a necessity, but being able to work from home will save on gas, save time in traffic, and allow me to be home with the kids.

      That said, I think the point of the book is that the tendency is to fill every available space with post-apocalyptic-sized  palates of paper towels and Froot Loops.  To my eyes, it seems more about how instant consumer gratification may fill the space you live in, leaving people with an increasingly smaller living space even in big homes.  I think most people on Boing2 would agree that it’s not the “stuff” that makes you happy.

  2. I find it strange that they dismiss 11 minutes of time savings.  As a father who does most of the cooking, I think 11 minutes is a pretty big difference.  Particularly when even somewhat complicated dinners can often be cooked in about an hour, and simple things often can be cooked in 30 minutes.  11 minutes could be about a third of the cook time.

    1.  More importantly, while a frozen entree in the oven may only be ready 11 minutes sooner, it really only requires two minutes of attention (putting it in the oven and taking it out later) rather than the constant attention required in preparing a more elaborate meal.

      1.  Yup — and there’s also the time involved in planning a menu, making a grocery list, and shopping for the ingredients for a from-scratch meal, vs. just running to the store and grabbing a package out of the freezer.

        I always prefer to cook my own meals on grounds of taste and health, but the work involved in producing healthy, economical home-cooked meals every day is non-trivial. Especially if most of the people you’re cooking for are going to whine and complain because they don’t LIIIIIKE weird stir-fry, but they’ll just shut up and eat frozen chicken nuggets without a fight. (Thank God, I don’t have to deal with that, but a lot of people do. Especially parents.)

        1. Paradoxically, kids that only eat chicken nuggets and mac & cheese and hot dogs do so largely because that’s all their parents have ever fed them.

        2. What I do is I take 2 or 3 hours every Sunday and I cook stuff and I  recreate the processed meal because I’m concerned about health and where my vegetables and meat are coming from. By doing this I eat well, save money and time. 

      2. But there’s pride in the preparation of a “real” meal, hitting “add minute” a few times isn’t the least bit rewarding. 

      3. Maybe the point is that rather than racing through preparing dinner, the preparation of dinner could be a time to savor.  I raced through most dinners when my kids were growing up and they watched TV or something.  Now, my daughter and grandson live with me and my grandson (5) loves to help prepare the dinner and my husband helps while we chat about our days (he’s still working).  My daughter is too low income to have all the toys and activities for her son that she had and it seems like their lives are actually better in terms of enjoying each other in the daily round of life:  meals, riding in the car, doing the laundry etc.

        1. Oh, that’s marvelous! The delightful rituals of everyday life, especially when done with other people. In some communities you can savor the walk to the grocery store, and the grocery shopping. Food shop every day for fresh eats in small quantities, carry it home, enjoy the cookery and the chat…

    2.  If you save 11 minutes twice each day, that’s 134 hours (8030 minutes) each year. That’s equivalent to over 3 weeks of vacation time (at 40 hours worked per week). That’s not negligible.

      1. Yes, but if you have to work that much extra to pay for the stuff to save the time….would you rather be at your job or at home doing something for yourself like cooking dinner?

        1.  This was what I got from the study; that parents are working so much just to buy all of that crap that they don’t have any time to spend with their family. Work less, buy less, more time for yourself/family.

          1. I used to work with a nurse who worked full-time, as did her husband, plus a commute from the East Bay to SF.  They had a maid to clean the house, a gardener to keep up the yard, a nanny for the child, not to mention things like a weekly manicure and pedicure appointment, plus they were Too Busy To Cook™.  They were paying out a huge chunk of their salaries to do things that they could have done themselves if they each dropped down to four days per week.

        2.  Another point is that we’re comparing thoughtful, elaborate meals to frozen chicken nuggets. They’re not comparable, and you can make respectable food in much less time than that, if all you’re striving for is having it be homemade.

      2. I can see the ad campaign now:

        “Hey kids! Want 3 extra weeks of vacation for this summer? Tell your mom you want Freezee Brand Frozen Chicken Nuggets!”

      3. That will save us enough time for the twenty minutes a day we’re exercising.  Not.  So we don’t become obese & sick.  Not.  
        Just saying, something’s not working very well here, and I can’t see that eating processed sludge 11 minutes sooner is fixing it.

      4. Actually, it isn’t.  The only thing that’s equivalent to 3 weeks of vacation time is three weeks of vacation time.   Not even 15 days of vacation time are equivalent, unless they are back to back.

        Saving 11 minutes each meal can be significant, sure, but I’ll bet that most of that goes into TV and passive internet usage.

  3. The findings look interesting, but seems like it would be better suited to becoming an interactive website with infographics you could pour through.

    Also this is just bad writing, FTA:
    Arnold said she admired the way the families coped with their busy lives, but even so, the $24.95 book (available on Amazon) presents a frightening picture of life in a consumer-driven society, with researchers documenting expensive but virtually unused “master suites,” children who rarely go outside, stacks of clutter, and entire walls devoted to displays of Beanie Babies and other toys.

    EDITOR: “See if you can actually work the price into the story, say, about a dozen paragraphs in.”

    1. You might want to tame your auto-correct before you start calling people out for poor writing. Muphry’s Law strikes again. :-)

      You can’t pour through a  website or book unless you’ve had an unfortunate accident with a blender.  You pore through it.

      1. Um, I don’t believe Ramone’s point was to point out bad English grammar and mechanics. Ramone’s point was that inserting the price and saying it’s on Amazon is a way of inserting advertising into what should be journalism.

        The Boston Globe just tried to sell you on this book. What does Muphry’s Law say about journalistic integrity?

        1. But of course, the list price and the availability (and the publishing company) are facts, so should they be left out? Also interviews, reviews and opinion pieces are not strict news journalism.

  4. Know how this can be.. we’ve gone from a large expansive house on a small farm to two bedrooms in my gramma’s (moms mom) house. Its just not economical to have a real house at this point.. You cannot imagine the amount of crap we’ve gotten rid of. Only bad thing really is that we live in an area where its REALLY a good idea not to go outside, Ponticrack exurbs and all that stuff. *end rant*

  5. I have a feeling that the central thesis of this book is that I shouldn’t buy stuff I don’t need… like this book.

    1.  Another reason to use your local public library. We buy shit like this all the time, so you don’t have to.

  6. What is really miserable is the quality of this so called “study”.   32 families out of the millions of families in America is a pitiful sample size.  This study sounds like something one would find on the latest TV “reality show”.  This thing is worthless.

    1. Not saying that the study is rigorous, but when you’re measuring many aspects of behavior and doing things like monitoring stress levels and other kinds of lab-work, 32 families isn’t anything to sneeze at.

    2. 32 people from one location, and with similar lives also. It’s kind of weird. Interesting, but only in the way watching a movie or an episode of hoarders is interesting.

  7. Not to get all QA here, but it seems to me that having your home monitored, your location tracked and your tongue regularly swabbed is not going to have a great effect on your stress and happiness levels.

  8. All that crap needs space to sit.  It’s driven, and been driven by, a massive increase in home size over the last several decades.

    It’s practically impossible to find a small home anymore in much of the country, especially if you’d rather not deal with one that’s crumbling around you.  And of course, you can’t build one yourself because now zoning laws, home owners associations, and covenants have minimum square footage requirements in a lot of places.

    It took us ages to find a house that wasn’t just obscenely huge.  But I’m glad we did.  It helps check a lot of the potential overspending, and gives us a lot more time.

      1. Problem is, you cant do what you want with an apartment, you need permission to paint, hang a TV, you cant remodel it. Its not YOURS, a condo would work better, but good ones are hard to find really. 

        1. I’ve rarely had a landlord who objected to me doing whatever remodeling I wanted. I painted one bedroom Tyrian purple – no objection. Painted murals on every wall in a whole three bedroom house – landlord loved it. The secret, of course, is to live in San Francisco.

          1. My landlord does the same thing with one rule, you have to paint it back and he’ll supply the paint. He realized many years ago if a tenant is allowed to make simple changes like paint, they rent longer, because they’ve made it their “home”. 

        2.  At least in my experience, you can more or less do what you want, with two conditions: don’t screw around with structural elements or zoning issues, and agree to put it back in the original condition before you leave.

        3. May be true in the USA, which the article is about, of course. (Though I suspect that the same research would yield similar results in Germany.)

          Thankfully no true in many other countries, where the landlord has no say in what the tenan does inside.

        4. Have you read some of the covenants/condo association “rules” and bylaws? In some cases it’s worse than renting. Some housing communities do the same thing, take a look at BB’s posting of the woman who planted a garden…oh the horror! 

          I lived with my cousin for a year. Her condo association charged her a fee and put a lien on her condo (she refused the to pay the fee and told me not to)  because I left my “truck” parked on the road. No trucks allowed! even though mine was worth far more than the rusty-smoking-leaking  1980ish LTD that parked on the same street. 

      2. check older neighborhoods. speaking from experience, a 1600 sq ft. bungalow is the bees knees.

    1. I will agree.. and the whole car culture aspect of american society causes massive urban sprawl with no infrastructure to support it, where I live everything has been closed and moved 45 minutes down the road because “thats where all the development is”. Without any regard paid to the massive exurb already in existence that no longer has any support. 

    2.  We just bought a blender, that moved the microwave onto the mini-frig, that moved the cutting board onto the kitchen table, then the mini-frig blew and the new frig didn’t fit the nook, so the kitchen table is out in the living room now, where I’m chopping cabbage to make cole slaw in an unused crock pot, after we move the cat box onto the patio, to make room for the crock pot.

      Our cat is pissed!

  9. That’s the upside of being a frequent mover. You get to reexamine what you do and do not need. Throw some stuff out, sell some stuff and start over with a few boxes.
    I guess you can’t avoid accumulating stuff the more you settle, but even so, if I had the choice between hoarding toys for decades and selling/donating them to people who can use them now, I think I’d pick the latter…

    1. Academics aren’t disparaging  middle class aspirations — they’re saying that those aspirations aren’t actually making the middle class happy.

      1. It’s like in all those movies. I guess it’s just hard for me to believe people think that will make them happy more so than that they just do what they think they have to do. But what do I know (really!)…

      1. tl;dr

        mea culpa, I suppose. But don’t you find that academics outside the hard sciences have a bias toward finding “regular people” lacking in sophistication? It may be a side effect of looking at too many spreadsheets. Certainly there are exceptions, blah, bla, blah, but if I may point at the 90% that is shit and declare what the fault is that would be my first item on the list. Blind to their own elitism. Oooh, I am repeating myself . . .

        1. I don’t mind so much when sociologists try to find “Average” people to do studies on regardless of their criteria.  It’s better than their typical mode of research eg:

          I’ll ask a half gross of graduate students their opinions, then count that as representative of the entire world population.

        2. I’ll certainly yield that there is an “ivory tower” effect. In six years of college studies (Bachelors and Masters) and eight years of teaching college, I could never personally overcome the feeling that the majority of my peers had no idea of how things operated in the real world.  There are many many exceptions – professors & students whose work is actually in the field and not just in the office – but there are too many whose pursuit of knowledge and discovery is an end itself. 

          Having said that, I do think that these researchers, and others such as Putnam over at Princeton, are touching upon something that is exceptionally important.  The middle class has trended increasingly wealthy and educated over the last 100 years.  However, surveys of personal satisfaction and happiness have not risen in the same way. Why is that? Why are our citizens identify themselves ‘happy’ at a rate less than many poorer countries?  

          Perhaps the hundreds surveys have been conducted under unconscious elitist pretentions and thus yield these results.  It is not a hard science.  Anybody who considers themselves objective has to consider that.  We are a product of our time.

          Regardless, it’s important to pursue these issues.  How we do it is the only question. Cheers.

    2. Middle class values like home improvements that go untouched, feeling too busy to step outside, and children who spend most of their free time staring at televisions?
      And, by the way, most academics are also middle class. This is how our society does honest self-reflection. Sometimes it’s very important for a people to check themselves before they wreck themselves.

  10. In 1949 Henry Huggins crossed town on a bus for a dime, and bought a football for $13.95. Today a ten-year-old kid spends $2.50 on a cross-town bus ticket and…$13.95 on a football. Either Stuff has gotten 25 times cheaper or Everything Else has gotten 25 times more expensive. I’m packing away for college funds in the 2020s and lemmetellya, all the Barbies my kids could eat wouldn’t pay for ten minutes of college. At a state school.

    So yeah, buy more Stuff, throw more Stuff away, judge the hell out of people for owning too much Stuff, whatever. Our society has long since decided: Stuff should be plentiful to excess. All the money we save on Stuff will too pitiful to do much of anything else.

    Maybe it isn’t so much the Stuff making us sad, as the fact that Stuff is the only thing we can afford.

    1. Yeah, it’s all upside down.  Something that should be expensive, like beef, costs less at a restaurant than a salad.  Something that should be expensive, like a widget shipped across the Pacific, is cheaper than something made down the street.  

      It’s disgusting.

        1. That phrasing is not very clear.  Fair enough.  I mean to say citing research that is constructive to a counter-argument.  Rather than just dismissing the research that has already been provided.

    2.  Maybe it isn’t so much the Stuff making us sad, as the fact that Stuff is the only thing we can afford.

      This. This is one reason I’m absolutely behind state-run healthcare. The cost of a big screen TV, which is what’s always cited as what the rubes are wasting their money on, is positively dwarfed by the cost of private insurance for a family of four.

      I was laid off a few years ago and considered doing contract programming while looking for the perfect employer until I saw that a COBRA extension would cost $1,500 per month. Private insurance wasn’t much better. No insurance without an employer, no entrepreneurism. No taking time off between jobs to spend with your family. No seeing the country to find where you’d like to settle next. In short, only one option: Relatively comfortable but insecure wage slavery.

      1. What nobody has been noticing for the last 30 years is that the middle class has increasingly been asked to pay for things that used to be provided by taxpayer funding; things like drivers ed in high school used to be included in tax bills- yet now people have to pay hundreds of dollars for it on the market- did our tax bills go down hundreds? Nope.
        People used to have defined benefit pensions, safe and secure- now we have shaky 401ks, that get the crappy investments that the big players laugh at.

        Basically  we have traded security for the promise of bling, and been dazzled with the shiny trinkets of Stuff, while our pockets have been picked by the sharp eyed con men of Wall Street.

        1. Not to mention college education, increasingly subsidized by the students alone.

        2. It’s part of the Giant 1% Cash Grab which has been occurring over the same period of time.

          One reason we have to buy so much Stuff is that governments are increasingly relying on goods-and-services taxes. Of course this makes no sense at all – how does the pothole down the street relate to how many cigarettes I buy?

      2. When I was contracting I paid $400 per month for insurance with a $10,000 deductible.  It seemed far preferable to COBRA.

  11. Bruce Sterling seems to have the sanest approach to “stuff” in his Last Viridian Note.

    ‘You will need to divide your current possessions into four major categories.

    1. Beautiful things.

    2. Emotionally important things.

    3. Tools, devices, and appliances that efficiently perform a useful function.

    4. Everything else.

    ‘”Everything else” will be by far the largest category. Anything you have not touched, or seen, or thought about in a year – this very likely belongs in “everything else.”‘

    …but read the whole thing.

    1. I know I’ve either read that before, or read someone else’s piece with basically the same categories.

      One sub-category I never see mentioned, but an astute office manager taught me: things that are emotionally important for NEGATIVE reasons.  Holding onto that stuff means you don’t let go of whatever pain/anger/frustration you feel whenever you think about it.  Is it really important to keep all the records of that long-standing dispute with your neighbor?  The car accident 5 years ago that the other person caused but didn’t have insurance for?  The handwritten promissory note for an unpaid “loan” from 15 years ago?  The broken items you keep meaning to fix because they were expensive or a gift from someone important, but know you never will?  Don’t keep stuff that reminds you of anything negative from your past unless there is a legal reason to do so.  (Not talking about remembrances from a loved one who died, or such.)

      And remember that you can document any item for posterity by taking photos before recycling/gifting/selling/tossing.

    2. Ashley, I’ve now read the link you provided, and I see that he does talk about photographing and then getting rid of.  Great minds think alike?  Or maybe I read something similar he wrote at an earlier time.

  12. fun fact, this is the only time in human history that people have been unhappy, everything used to be so great

    now its just terrible!

    1. Disingenuous post is disingenuous.

      There has never been a time when so many powerful people gleefully oppress the powerless for their own selfish gain. It’s wrong and it should stop. And it can, if enough people stop brushing it aside as if it were no big deal.

      1. “There has never been a time when so many powerful people gleefully oppress the powerless for their own selfish gain.”

        Rebuttal: virtually all of Western history (and probably Eastern history, too, but the gleeful powerful people decided I didn’t need to know about that and I haven’t given myself enough an education on it to know). What you described is the basis of modern capitalism and its ancestors, feudalism and imperialism.

        1. I was thinking that the population is greater today than at any point in history, and so probably the number of people actually oppressed at any given moment may be at an all-time high.

          I don’t believe capitalism, feudalism or imperialism in themselves are about oppression of the powerless. The powerless are just easy targets and you can get away with it when you are in power.

  13. Awwww. Aw. The poor people! This is not sarcastic. I’m at a conference (TAM 2012) in Las Vegas and spent some time under the casino’s giant portico watching people lumber in, roll in on wheelchairs, and in some cases barely manage to teeter in behind wheeled walkers, terribly fragile old and sick people, from their too-large cars. Casinos are the playgrounds for adults in the USA. What else do they have? And it’s not even fun.

    1. and, really, no way that represents any kind of real sample of “poor people” and I get your sarcasm.

    2. Btw, this conference could have used an EFF POV. Large group of self-selected cranky individualists, curious, concerned. They’re into third parties, because there’s a high percentage of libertarians; yet not one person I’ve talked to has heard about the Pirate party. This year’s theme was skepticism and the future (!). In addition to the usual topics of anti-evolutionists, anti-vaccinationists, psychics, &c., a talk on data privacy, consumer rights, copyright, &c., + the future could have been fit in nicely and broken new ground.

  14. Cory, I wish you’d chosen yesterday—the birthday of Henry David Thoreau—to post this.

    The irony would have been delicious indeed!

  15. 15 years ago, I owned a 4 bedroom house packed full of crap (and I’m single). Then a 2 bedroom apartment, then a 3 bedroom house, then a 1 bedroom apartment, and then into a large, finished basement. With each move, I have gotten rid of a lot of crap. I am moving again this weekend, into one bedroom of a friend’s large home. When I moved from the 4 bedroom house, the move was a nightmare full of stress. This move is still some work, but not nearly as much stress. Having less “stuff” has made my life simpler, and I am much happier for it. Granted, being single helps out a lot, but it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the hunt to collect “stuff” even when you’re single.

  16. OMM: Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy. 

    1. Buying makes you happy, ownership does not.

      We always need another hit of mindless acquisitiveness oblivious of the come down which ownership implies and which we will need a bigger hit to overcome…

      The hit is our reward for the crappy jobs we have to do to keep all those commercial enterprises in business.
      We’re all fucked.

      In the UK with limits on availability of land and restrictions on house size we now have storage companies where once your house is full you can pay to store all the stuff which you never wanted anyway.

  17. Being excessively materialistic to porcine proportions is the only way to convince the Feds that you’re not some Filthy Fifth Columnist!   

  18. Once again, BB has it’s finger on my pulse. I just moved, I wanted to live by myself again.  A month after I moved, I couldn’t get “settled”.  Then I read BB’s post on “Knolling” and promptly implemented the idea. I’m so much happier now and my place is so easy to keep clean  and I know exactly where everything is. Thanks BB! 

    You may just have too much shit laying around and in turn, you feel like shit. Give your life a good Wipe!

  19. Mr Carlin takes on stuff:

    Just read some other Netizen who wrote: ‘rich people, they buy big things…the rest of us buy lots of little things’  

    I have stuffed in closets and storage spaces all manner of useless personal ephemera: ‘These meat hooks are a matching pair, can’t get rid of them: they were a gift!  Those nunchakus have real ball-bearing action, they don’t make ’em like that anymore!  Maybe I’ll still need to snuggle with Seal-y the plush harp seal from my childhood days: it’s been 30 years but maybe I’ll regress’…so, yeah…no stones thrown from this area.

    But I can’t stand living in a mess, I push my little mini-mountains of documents/books/clothes in proper areas and deal fairly swiftly: no eterna-piles!  Dirty dishes get washed, etc

    But hell yeah: all this shit we want/buy/have is driving us crazy…it’s nuts.  It’s a sickness.  And it’s hard to deny: Costco is full of non-vital items I would like to own.  And I don’t need 2 dozen goddamned screwdrivers thank you, but if the price is low enough…sigh, I might (and I have.)

    The saddest part is how hard it is to let go.  Like Smaug the Dragon going berserk over one lost cup, whilst sitting on a pile of treasure, we First Worlders be trippin off the small shit.

    Dump what you can, give away unnecessary items: it feels great afterwords 90% of the time (the other ten you can’t believe you did it), it can be such a challenge just to get rid of old crap: but don’t be a hoarder…it’s no good for you.

  20. Good timing. I’m trying to figure out what to take overseas. There’s the obvious things (power converters, computer, camera equipment, suits) but then there’s other things (antique books from my family? Ouch… no easy answer? Art? Would it be cheaper to replace my keyboard amp than to ship it?)

    I’ve moved lots of times, but I’ve never quite had this logistic puzzle.

    1. From personal experience (I’ve been switching countries every 3-5 years for a while now), take as little as possible. First, shipping stuff internationally is a pain in the ass and with heightened risk of things not going as planned (losses, damage, delays, etc.). Second, buying stuff up slowly, as you need it is generally more efficient than trying to settle in and unpack everything on short notice, at the same time. Third, and most importantly, there will be small but notable ‘daily routine’ adjustments that may well render what you bring not very useful while still requiring you to buy new stuff. Even with something as obvious as suits, you may find the fabric or the style ending up being not quite optimal. Finally, one ALWAYS overestimates what one actually uses frequently, so the bias needs to be offset.

      Last couple of times I’ve moved with no more than two suitcases and been MUCH happier for it. If there is some stuff that you cannot get yourself to donate/sell, get a storage box.

  21. All my siblings had relatively spartan lifestyles before they had kids. Now their homes look like storage units for plastic crap. My sister’s 2-car garage is one giant pile of toys neither of her kids play with (but they whine like hell if they try to give them away). Of course there’s no room for the adults cars, but amidst all the toys I saw two partially buried child-size electric cars, one pink, one blue. My sister said they never use them — the driveway is too steep.

  22. The saddest part is that those parents are teaching their kids that “stuff will fix everything,”, which is doesn’t. I don’t buy my kids some toy every time I take them shopping, and they don’t expect me to. Twice a year we have a ‘Goodwill Day’, where we go through every toy and they choose to donate anything they don’t play with, and we throw out anything broken. I don’t think parents ever tell the kids that all that stuff costs money, and the money has to come from somewhere. 

  23. What are you doing looking in my garage?

    (scary how accurate, even down to the pink and blue electric cars buried under junk)

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