Uglify Your Stuff To Keep It Safe
I don't know about you, but I buy things based on how they look as well as what they do. I was once told that you don't buy a power drill because it looks cool, you buy it because you need holes. Well, yes and no. As a designer and creative, the aesthetic also plays an important role. But what attracts you to objects also attracts thieves. And so, has the time come to "uglify your stuff?"
I first read about this last year, when I saw that a number of people who owned very expensive bikes were doing their level best to make them look like $20 Craigslist rejects. It's a simple enough idea. You take your wonderful $1000 bike, and proceed to repaint it, badly, apply stickers and scratches and scuff marks, bits of old tape, dirt, grime, in fact anything you can think of, and hey presto - one expensive bike that performs like a dream but looks like a nightmare.
Your average thief wouldn't look twice at this "old" thing, even though it's probably the most expensive bike in the rack. Of course, you have the downside of riding a bike that looks less than cool, but if you're a real biking fanatic that won't bother you. Just like the drill is a means to an end, so is a great bike.
It seems as though this has spread to all sorts of other personal possessions now, and it runs the gamut.
In May this year, blogger Jimmie Rodgers wrote about his ugly camera, and described the lengths he had gone to to make this expensive digital camera look like a cruddy old film camera.
Here's what Jimmie had to say after the uglification process:
"I was able to take over 5,000 pictures with it in Brazil. I was able to follow around a number of well known graffiti artists, and you can check out some of the pics here. I was also able to go into some fairly dangerous areas, and walk out with my camera. I was even mugged a second time, and they left my camera alone, and took my $20 cell phone instead."
It's a trend that's picking up steam. You can buy faceplates for expensive car CD players that turn them into old cassette players. Who'd want to steal that? And it can even go as far as uglifying your sandwich! Yes, people in offices everywhere who are tired of seeing their lunch go walkies are buying zip-loc bags that have mold stains inside the plastic, making a fresh snack look like a breeding ground for bacteria.
Nick Cannon has a list of 16 anti-theft ideas that puts the green sandwich bags on top of the pile. And by the way, those things are real. You can buy them at Perpetual Kid in packs of 25 for $9.99. Yes, they're more pricey than your average zip-loc baggie, but how much does it cost to replace your lunch?
So, would you uglify your stuff to make it more theft-proof? Is it worth it? Aside from affecting the resale value of some things, do you value the aesthetic quality as much as the functional aspect? I, for one, wouldn't make my iPod video look like crap. And as for my MacBook Pro...stay away from that or suffer a fate worse than death!
But if that doesn't bother you, then what would you uglify, and why? Over to you.