On nostalgia, authenticity and the 5-finger discount

I’m hooked. I’m a junkyard junkie, and love all bric-a-brac that reminds me of my childhood, generations lost and histories I have little to no connection with.

In that sense, I’m also a bit of a hoarder when it comes to travel. I hold onto old-school train stubs, beer caps, coasters and anything else I think will bring me thoughts of happiness in the unknown future. And when I shop, I prefer to visit the second-hand stores that capture a destination in a way no modern store or newly manufactured item can. Recent purchases in Prague? Rolling papers from WWII and amazing Koi-I-Noor lead holders (pencils) that were imprinted “Made in Czechoslovakia.” Recent purchases at second-hand stores in Cat Street, Hong Kong? These amazing matchbooks:

If you can name the brand of the last three matchbooks, you get bragging rights.

But I digress.

On authenticity

Carefully curated, anything can be authentic. Few people get this right.

Overly curated and it can seem haphazardly staged. Many companies are doing this in an effort to be “authentic.”

On the 5-finger discount

You know how they say imitation is the best form of flattery? Well, stealing is pretty close too. I’m not saying it’s ethical to take something from a hotel. It might not necessarily be stealing either. But I’m sure we’ve all taken something from a hotel we liked — not because we wanted to copy it in our own properties, but because we simply wanted it for keeps.

So, what was the last thing you stole at a hotel, and why? And what are the things hotels offer that are meant to be taken?