The Anti-Wish List

Broderick Turner
3 min readAug 25


“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.” — Seneca

When I was a child, I made detailed Christmas Wish Lists. I would comb through Toys R’ Us circulars, the JC Penny catalog, and the Sears catalog, as well (Yep, I’m that old). Transformers, Huffy Bicycles, Nerf-Guns, and actions figures. I spent hours writing and editing these lists until I had the perfect guide for Santa, with prices listed incase the elves were busy and my parents chose to muster up the cash.

This compulsion to catalog my wants never left. I became a marketing professor, partly because I love understating consumption- my own and others.

But now, firmly planted in middle age, my consumption urge is tempered by experience. For instance, it’s easy to dream about buying a huge house. But now I know that gutters are expensive, lawn maintenance is constant, and furnishing rooms that we’ll never sit in is wasteful. I also see my friends, great consumers themselves, still striving for the next shiny thing, and then being disappointed that the Peloton bike didn’t make them healthier, (since they don’t use it) and the basement bar didn’t make them cooler (since they’re sleepy after the first glass of wine).

And now I’ve developed a new compulsion to list. This time, a list of things I don’t want- headaches I don’t need, stuff that will remain unconsumed- at least by me. Like my childhood Christmas list, I plan to edit and revise this document until it’s perfect.

Broderick’s Anti-Wish List as of 8/27/23:

1. A boat

2. A helicopter

3. A motorcycle

4. Skateboards

5. Lake Houses/ Beach Houses/ Houses on Cliffs/ Log Cabins or any other domicile that can be swallowed by Mother Nature too easily.

6. The BMW i8/ Lotus Elise/ Any Ferrari or McClaren (I am too tall).

7. An android phone (Green bubbles? Eww)

8. Ripped Skinny Jeans

9. Pool Table

10. Water bed

11. A Hastens Mattress

12. A soda machine

13. A chocolate fountain

14. Brooks Running Shoes

15. Oakley Sunglasses

16. Bagpipes

17. 3+ button suit jackets

18. An Alexa

19. Anything from Design within Reach (everything there is beautiful, but I’m a messy eater and clumsy human)

20. Patagonia/ finance-bro puffer vest

21. Baseball or Basketball Jerseys

22. VR headsets

23. Augmented reality glasses (reality seems pretty cool to me)

24. A snow plow

25. An internet-enabled refrigerator

26. Carpet

27. Tie dye pants

28. Snakes, reptiles, birds

29. Golf clubs

30. Glass tables

31. Wire spiral notebooks

32. Microsoft Surface

33. Shot glasses

33. A monocle

34. A unicycle

35. Juggler’s clubs

36. Season tickets

37. An island

38. Veneers

What’s on your anti-wish list?



Broderick Turner

Assistant Professor of Marketing @ The Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech