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Summer shopping: craft shows

It's June, when outdoor art and craft shows begin to sprout like chanterelles.

These venues support local (or regional) makers; the goods are handmade—maybe even of recycled materials. I'll go to a craft show any day over a mall filled with mass brands.

The dark side is a wearying sameness, and a syndrome I call Best of the Bunch, a consumption behaviour that kicks in: whose pots, scarves or leather goods are best? If you can assess and walk away, good for you; I too often buy the Best of the Bunch item even when I don't need it.

Clothes are tricky. At craft shows, they sort into two types: the first is "wearable art" and though it can look graceful fluttering from a booth, when I try to integrate it into my real-life wardrobe, it's a mistake—and there are no returns. The second type is "wearable yurt", which makes me look like an 18th century homesteader, because there is no discernible tailoring.

I've bought goods that I'd have sailed by i…

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