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Money-Sucking Trends to Avoid in 2018

Money-Sucking Trends to Avoid in 2018

Callie Enlow

Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images
Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

It’s that time of year when we eagerly try to predict what’s in store for the following 12 months—and we’re not just talking about the calendar dates for Mercury’s retrograde. From tech to cars to fashion, the media is scrambling to divine 2018’s hottest sellers. But of course, trends are by nature fleeting; today’s must-have item is tomorrow’s joke, and it can be a cruel one if you sunk your hard-earned cash into it. If you have a tendency to go all-in on chunky highlights, cereal cafes, or hoverboards, here are some 2018 trends you may want to avoid.

Fashion: Satin and Velvet

Last year, luxe fabrics satin and velvet began popping up on well-heeled celebrities in unexpected colors and cuts. Now, as shiny shirts and decadent dresses are dotting ready-to-wear racks I suppose there’s no point in arguing that satin gym shorts and ecru velvet button-downs aren’t a thing for a reason. But here I go anyway: While these fancy fabrics look great on stars exiting their limos or dangling from hangers at the Gap, they can be a major pain in the ass for you, the consumer. Not only do you pay a premium (and honestly, next year you are not going to be caught dead in those dusty rose velvet jeans, I promise you), cleaning them is a serious headache. True velvet and satin whathaveyou’s require dry cleaning, which sullies the environment and drains your wallet. And often even professional efforts can’t erase the remains of a toddler’s greasy handprint or a misplaced wad of chewing gum. If you simply must swaddle yourself in sumptuousness, look for down-market sateen, which is made of cotton or rayon and is machine washable, or velveteen or velour, which are also easier to care for and less expensive. And for god’s sake, run away, far away, from the velvet upholstery trend in home design, unless you plan to never allow a pet, plate of food, or child anywhere near your furniture.

 via iStock.

via iStock.

Work: Typewriters

I’m sorry Tom Hanks, but I cannot condone a renaissance for these loud, obsolete hunks of metal. In the past, collecting typewriters was at worst an annoying hobby, but the new generation of faux-charming old typewriter keyboards that interface with your iPad is the perfect storm of twee nostalgia and dust-collecting tech—for me at least. Thousands of others beg to differ, as evidenced by a Kickstarter campaign last summer that raised nearly half a million bucks for just such a piece. While I kinda-sorta get the appeal of a keyboard for a tablet if you are, for instance, too young or weak to carry around a laptop, a bulky facsimile of a Smith-Corona seems like the worst of both worlds: Not only is it not portable, it ruins the supposed concentration-boosting qualities of the analog version your favorite Lost Generation writer pecked away at. And if you actually plan on tapping out your unrealized short story collection on a vintage machine, make sure you’ve got the number of one of the few typewriter service specialists left and stock up on extra ribbons and ink.

Food: Fancy Veggie Burgers

I’m old enough to remember when being a vegetarian doubled as a cost-saving measure. But now that Silicon Valley has discovered the disruptive power of pea protein and meatless heme, you can easily pay as much for an engineered plant patty as for a Kobe beef burger. I may be in the minority, but I still favor a well-seasoned mash of black beans and panko crumbs over self-satisfied Beyond and Impossible offerings. Sure, such an old-school meat substitute might not ooze hot liquid when I bite into it, but a homemade bean or veggie patty is relatively healthy, affordable, and I don’t need a science lesson to understand the ingredients list. These days, I’m no longer a vegetarian, but I still eat a mostly plant-based diet. And if I’m going to spend $15 on a burger, I’d prefer some of that dough go to heritage farmers caring for animals and keeping a family business alive, rather than startup investors catering to wealthy vegans.

 

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Home: Amazon Key

Amazon Key is genuinely unsettling—for $250 (currently) the company will send you an Amazon Cloud camera and a smart lock, which Amazon delivery people can use to open your front door and place packages inside your home. If you live off Prime deliveries and are in a neighborhood prone to package thieves, I suppose this cash outlay may be worthwhile, but as The Washington Post’s Geoffery Fowler noted in his critical review, “It’s the most aggressive effort I’ve seen from a tech giant to connect your home to the Internet in a way that puts itself right at the center.” Smart lock installation has thus far proved finicky and may necessitate the additional cost of a locksmith. And for a service that requires people entering the privacy of one’s home, Amazon Key has a poor track record of hitting the delivery window. Then there are the hackers.

Before you bet your house on this trend’s staying power, why not wait a few months for Amazon (or another player, like Google) to work out the kinks and offer more hardware and price point options? In the interim, have your packages delivered to your workplace or get in on the sharing economy and open your unoccupied home to a remote-working friend in search of a quiet internet connection. Not only will they bring your packages inside, they may even feed your cat, too.

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