We know what you're thinking: how do you film a podcast? Well, like all those wonderful and wild things you find at thrift stores, there's a story behind this one too.
It begins with a coffee cup. A broken one, to be more specific — one whose purchase in its original, fully-functional form was wrapped up in a love story. You see, for Rob Walker, this rather insignificant vessel was forever tied to a trip he took with his now-wife many years ago, a fact he didn't realize until it shattered. And that got him thinking about the meanings we attach to objects, that, like his coffee mug, are rather insignificant in themselves.
|Rob Walker and Kurt Andersen discuss the significance of objects at Vintage Thrift. Photo via Studio 360, Thomas Seely.|
With collaborator Joshua Glenn, Walker enlisted dozens of best-selling and popular authors to compose fictional stories that would give meaning to mundane, if unusual, items (This seahorse lighter comes to mind). The insignificant objects and their stories were then auctioned off on eBay, and the results were surprising. One dollar trinkets were suddenly fetching upwards of $30 a piece! While the items have long found their way into new homes, you can read the collection of stories in Significant Objects.
Kurt Andersen of Studio 360 caught up with Rob Walker at Vintage Thrift to discuss the draw of thrift store oddities — and to hold a contest. They plucked three unusual objects from our shelves — a Marlboro Thermos, a creepy doll, and a very puzzling box — and have challenged listeners to come up with stories of their own. The made-up histories are published on Studio 360, and the winning story for each object will receive the priceless piece of "junk" itself. Contest ends at 11:59PM Sunday, April 8.