Monday, February 18, 2013

Suburbs of Our Discontent

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." 
(Jaques, As You Like It)

If you haven't tried to sell a house in the past five years, then you likely have never had to go through the joys of  having your home evaluated by a professional "stager." It's a special kind of experience where someone walks through your house and then writes up a report on how you need to: a) get rid of all your cheap crap; and then b) move the remaining semi-cheap crap around to make your house look like something out of Real Simple or (if you actually own some nice stuff) Better Homes and Garden. It's a whole industry now, complete with its own reality TV franchise. I actually used to enjoy watching people go through the process of being ritually shamed by The Stager and then redeemed by doing everything she says and then getting a fabulous offer on their house. 

Except that on the shows people actually come in and do the work for the couple while they jet off to Vegas.

We went through this process last weekend, only we didn't leave our house, and we both almost threw out our backs. We're looking to lure some suckers young family looking to live the American Dream into buying our  "antique" (i.e. really old) home. The stager's report was, as promised, an exercise in shame, but we did everything on her list--including buying "fluffy white towels" to give the illusion that if you live in our house, you, your children, and everything you own will be clean. We are, according to the stager, creating a fantasy, not an actual livable space.

No wonder Jaques decides to live in a monastery. There's no crap to stage.

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