Tom West, Brad Darrach, and Martha Ronk not only always treated me like
a real writer; they also helped me to learn how to be one. The work done by
Susan Ruffins to show me how a book could emerge was nothing short of he-
roic. Then there are readers and friends whose timely comfort or kicks in the
butt kept me moving: Mary Weismantel, Gabrielle Foreman, Bill Talen, Arlene
Davila, Sharon Bean, and Dàna- Ain Davis. Jeff Tobin and Marta Savigliano
always keep me sane and honest, whether they are here in Los Angeles or in
Argentina. A special thanks is owed to Anne Allison and the Department of
Anthropology at Duke University, for providing a semester of respite and
adventure; to Paul Smith and the Department of Cultural Studies at George
Mason University for lively discussion and comments; to Kye Young Park
and members of the consumption colloquium at ucla for providing an
“aha moment” in my figuring out what the point of this work really is. John
Sherry and Russell Belk, along with Dan Cook, are among the most generous
scholars and colleagues on the planet. Like a pesky tag- along kid, I try to
imitate their generosity as much as possible. I also enjoyed great exchanges
at the Child and Teen Consumer conference, especially with Ann Phoenix,
Steve Woolgar; encouragement from James McKenna and Lee Gettler about
the transitional object material kept me committed to that exploration. Por-
tions of the book have been previously published as follows: diary excerpts
“Shopping in Ikea” and “Capitalism Makes Me Sick,” New Review of Literature
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