Perhaps the best $15 I've ever spent

Among the piles of belongings we are discarding is a folder about eight inches thick, packed with credit card statements dating as far back as 1999. Because technology makes it possible for me to access most of this data (should I ever need a reminder of my overspending) electronically, I decided to get rid of most of the paperwork. But technology is a double-edged sword. It giveth and it screweth. Thus, I have a rich fear of identity thieves trolling landfills or recycling centers for access to my credit card information and, in turn, my meager credit balances.

To be extra cautious, we purchased a low-end paper shredder for about $15 at Target. It is, I must say, a magnificent machine. There is something I cannot quite explain, something unspeakably rewarding about watching it eat and destroy one's financial history. It's not just mental release, it's an immensely sensory satisfaction in feeding in a sheet of paper and watching the teeth shred it into strips.


Of course, the downside of a low-end shredder is that its motor overheats quite easily and it automatically shuts itself down after I've stuffed a couple inches worth of history in its gob. It's torturous to have to unplug it and wait for it to return to room temperature before continuing.

Chris did point out that it probably wasn't designed for shredding large volumes of paper at one time. I suppose that those with giant quantities of paper to shred quickly probably have the financial incentive (and enough at stake) to invest in a more sophisticated model.

But my little machine, my new best friend, has been cooling overnight. So I'm off to introduce it to a little stack I like to call "Discover Card, 1999."

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