Let's be honest, my progeeks, profanes, and protaku, sometimes we buy cheap chotskies in bulk. We love our meaningless plastic, buttons, toys, etc. it's part of the geek experience.
Yes, they're wastes of money, but we love them. I've wondered if for us, however, they may be on the way out – because of virtual goods.
Right now there's also a lot of ways to blow money on cheap stuff online – for our social media friends, for our freemium game equipment, etc. Little bits of cash here and there for little things . . . which sounds familiar, of course, to anyone who came home from a convention with $20 worth of cheap plastic robots.
I wonder if online virtual goods are going to start replacing the chotskies we geeks get in our budgetary space.
First, you get equal or more bang for your buck. A forgotten seven dollar figurine just becomes a gift or a decoration, but that money can get you a bunch of virtual gifts at Gaia Online or some sweet equipment for Shaiya.
Secondly, virtual goods don't take up space. You're not trying to figure out where to put them.
Third, virtual goods can often give you status as they're displayed on profiles, are part of a game, etc. You get a lot out of them.
Fourth, it's a heck of a lot cheaper to produce virtual goods.
So, I can see virtual goods competing for our Random Stuff dollar as geeks. The value is there, and the benefits of virtual goods as a dumping ground for casual dollars are high.