Friday, July 8, 2011

Personalization: At What Cost?

For whatever reason, I saw a number of personalized license plates yesterday, and it got me thinking: why are we so determined to "personalize" and "customize" almost every little thing in our lives?

I understand that things like your username, your radio station, your twitter background, your social circle are some ways that you can be your authentic self. Those things are free (generally). I even understand spending money on expressing yourself through things like your clothing or your haircut, your personal sense of style. But why would you pay money to show your personality through license plates? I mean, when was the last time you actually LOOKED at your own license plate? Here in Minnesota, I found out, it costs $100 to get a personalized license plate. That's $100 to tell the entire world how you are JSS GRL or that you love ROK ROL. Don't even get me started on things like truck balls.

Other personalization things that I don't understand spending money on: skins or custom cases for ipods/ipads/kindles/macbooks. those little dangly charms some people have on cell phones. necklaces that spell your name. the ex knife stand.

Some personalization things I do understand: tattoos. handmade items. experiences.

How do you feel about personalization? Do you think such things are worth spending money on?


  1. Nope, I don't feel like I need my name slapped on something to validate my identity. That sounds harsh but I'm not sure what other purpose these services have.

    Personalization can sometimes be practical if you want to keep your items identifiable from a group's. I've found a sharpie tends to work just fine for that purpose though, total cost $1.

  2. It's a bit of personal style, a bit of claiming territory, and a lot of (like everything) not going overboard. My iphone has a distinctive and cute little case. That's personalization of it, and it not only means I can spot mine on the table amongst the many, but makes it more /mine/. it also cost about five dollars. My macbook has a sparkly decal on it. Again, it means I can grab the right laptop amongst others, it makes it much more /mine/, and it cost me two dollars.

    It takes a generic tool, that for some of us geeks is very much a part of our lives and with us more than our spouses, and makes it part of our personal style.

    I do think spending stupid amounts of money on it is absurd, but I also tend to think as long as you can afford it (ie it's not going on the credit card, and it's in the entertainment or stupid stuff budget), then get whatever you please. Even if someone else thinks it's dumb. :)

  3. I can understand the personalization thing to a point. I like everything I have to be custom but my first line of defense is to go for less popular stuff.

    I have my name engraved in my laptop but that was free. When it comes to skins/custom cases/charms I wouldn't really buy any but I have never seen any that caught my attention. Phones, macbooks, kindles can all be personalized by changing the background or theme and that is enough for me. $100 for custom plates is outrageous so I would skip those.

    Overall I can understand wanting to personalize your things but I think the cost should be within reason. Also this is the first time I have seen truck balls and the ex knife stand lol. I think they are both hilarious. I would probably like the knife set as a gift.

  4. Personally I'd rather ave the $$ in my pocket,rather than something personalized. But to each their own! ;)

  5. There are times I think personalization is actually a really bad idea because it marks you as an easier target for vandals and thieves so it pays to blend in.

    Other times, if I'm already paying to protect the item, like a phone case and it doesn't cost extra for the amusement factor, then I don't mind amusing myself with something fun. But I'm not going to pay extra for thematic stuff generally. That's where PiC and my friends and I differ.

  6. I personally think for some people it goes beyond personalization to a personal style they wish to create about and around themselves.

  7. I dated a guy once who mentioned he wanted to get a pair of truck balls... that is precisely when I knew it wasn't going to work out.

  8. Yep, I guess I'm one of those vein consumers with the personalized license plate on my family SUV.

    I've even got those cute little stick figures in the back window to show the world how many kids my wife and I have...

    Oh least we managed to pay off all of our consumer debt over the last few years. I would feel pretty silly if I spent $100 on a vanity license plate and still had outstanding credit card or student loan debt.

  9. I have a skin for my iPad and iPod, but only because BF has the same models too and we hate getting them mixed up. Plus, it protects them as I don't have a case.

    The computers? Nah. I thought about it because it'd make me laugh to see Snow White holding an apple on my macbook but for $40, I'd rather save the money.


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