> Ian Geocaris
> Period 3
> Mr. Reinke
> Collection paper
>
> The Sweetest Collection Ever
>
>
> Throughout history, many people have fought wars and have died because of valuable commodities. Would you
believe that one of these desired commodities was sugar? Although today sugar is not thought of as a rare valuable
luxury item only available to society's elite, some people have developed a love for collecting this common household
item in its interesting and unique packages. These unique sugar packets have become the reason why these collectors
value sugar today.
> In my research I found that The way people consumed sugar was not always as easy as just opening a packet. One of
the first primitive packages was the sugar cone, also called a loaf or a hat. This was usually a cone shaped hunk of
sugar that was wrapped in paper. To break a small piece of sugar off of the cone, people would use sugar nippers,
which were
> menacing utensils that resemble a pair of pliers with blades on the tips. The next evolution of sugar packaging came
after a housewife of Jakub Krystof Rad hurt her finger after a moment of daydreaming while using the sugar nippers.
This inspired Jakub to create a new safer form of sugar distribution since he was in the business of sugar. In 1841 this
new form came to be known as the sugar cube. It was safer because they were small preformed blocks of sugar so that
people didn’t need to use the nippers again. Through the years the sugar cube then evolved into the modern sugar
packet that the collectors hunt for today. (source 1)
> Chad Gierlich is a self-professed sugar aficionado and he is one of these sugar packet collectors. He collects and
maintains a large collection of sugar packets. He also has other interesting artifacts that pertain to sugar such as a few
sugar cones and sugar nippers. Chad got his start sugar packet collecting when he found
> a jar of sugar packets at a friend's house while he was helping them move. He became interested in sugar packet
collecting after this and has grown to greatly appreciate sugar. Many of the pieces in his collection come from around
the world. In fact, he has sugar packets from almost forty different countries.
> When I  interviewed him, he revealed that he has spent over a decade collecting sugar packets and estimates the
value of his collection to be over four thousand dollars. Although a part of that value comes from his antiques, of which
some are made of silver, he has some rare sugar packets that would also fetch a pretty penny. According to Chad, the
most that he has paid is $72 for one set. The reason that these are so valuable is that they are sugar packets from the
White House and feature the presidential seal. As one can imagine these are rare packets that probably were
"smuggled" out of the White House by someone so they are not common
> to come by. Sugar collecting can be just casual yet the allure of packets such as the White House ones and different
packets from exotic and unique places are what really drives hardcore packet collectors to collect. Another reason that
they collect is because sugar packets are highly tradable. For instance, let's say that Chad has just taken a trip to Italy
and has found a few new packets. Because there are usually a lot of them where the collector gathers them from, he
can grab maybe ten so that he can trade for other packets from other people who have spares that also want to trade.
This aspect makes for a fun social community of sugar traders. Chad has met over twenty-five people who he trades
with regularly from around the world so that he can continue to add to his collection. Because of the inherent social
nature of sugar packet collectors they hold conventions annually to trade sugar and admire collections of the other
collectors.
>
>     Chad has attended four different sugar conventions around the world. He trades sugar cubes and packets at these
events. His first one was in Germany in 2004. He then attended one in Belgium in 2005 and also went to Belgium again
in 2007. In 2008 there was a convention in the US that he also attended. At these sugar conventions the sugar
collectors display their collections and trade with others for packets that they might not be able to obtain from just
collecting themselves. (source 4)
>     I discovered that many times a sugar collector will collect their sugar packets from wherever they go. This can allow
them to obtain many different interesting packets, but sugar packet collectors who want to gather the most interesting
and unique sugar packets have another way to obtain them. These collectors involve their friends and family to help
them to find new, interesting packets. Many times they have relatives or
> friends who live in different states or even different countries. These people can be persuaded to collect sugar
packets for the collector from around their area. This strategy is very helpful to many collectors who cannot constantly
go to different places. Many times they also have their friends and family gather sugar packets when they go on
vacations to exotic places that they have not visited. This strategy is excellent because it also gets the collector's family
and friends interested in the collection because they feel as if they are helping the collector.
> Once the collector starts his or her collection they will usually sort their prized sugar packets. Many times sugar
collectors will first put the packets into groups according to which country they came from. Then inside the country
groups they will sort them into sets. Sets usually are packets from the same place or event that have similar themes
printed on them yet they are different in
> their pattern or pictures on the back. Once they have them sorted the collector can use baseball card inserts in
binders to collect the packets or they can keep them in a small box to minimize the chance of them being accidentally
consumed if they have houseguests. (source 2)
>      According to Chad, he says that he usually devotes a solid 4-5 hours per week with his collection. (source 4) This
surprised me so I asked what he does in this time that he is working with his collection. He responded that he usually
organizes his packets and puts ones that he gets in the mail from different countries away. Although I was not able to
find out exactly how much time other collectors usually put into their collections, it is obvious from my research that there
are many who spend way more dedicated time with their collections than Chad. These collectors have made elaborate
web sites that show many sugar packets from almost every part of the
> world. Also in my interview with Chad he said that "there are people that [he has] met in Europe that are way more into
it than [he] is." Even though some collectors do not spend massive amounts of time working with their collections like the
ones in Europe, they all share a strong passion for their object of so much admiration.
>     (source 4) In my interview with Chad it was unmistakable that he is extremely passionate about his sugar. When I
asked him why he likes sugar, he said that the history of sugar fascinates him because there were "wars fought over
sugar and people died to own it." He also appreciates the value of sugar on society. He explained to me that too many
people take sugar at face value and do not think about how important it is in our society. For instance, while
researching, I found another major function that many people may not know about sugar. According to an article named
Sugar Rush in the New Scientist
> magazine "sugars are involved in almost all aspects of biology from recognizing pathogens to blood clotting to
directing embryonic development. Also in Sugar Rush it states that "simple sugars can be built into giant molecules
called complex sugars that rival DNA and proteins in size and complexity." (source 6) Because Chad has taken the time
to learn things like this about sugar and its uses, it is easy to see why Chad appreciates sugar more than most people
because of its usefulness in so many different ways.
>     For field research you might be able to say that I have been doing it since the first time that I set foot in a restaurant
or store because these are usually the places that have sugar packets. But I have something better than field research.
I also have first hand experience being a sugar packet collector. I once was one myself. I had a gallon ziplock bag half
full of sugar packets that I had gathered from various
> locations. I also have to admit that in the beginning not all the sugar packets were for sentimental collection value. My
collection began as a stash of sugar packets that I would gather from any restaurants that I visited. I would take a small
handful of them from the restaurant and secretly eat the sugar out of these packets because I loved the taste of it. This
continued for a little while until I became enthralled by all the different types of sugar packets that I had gathered. This is
when I began to actively look for different packets that either looked different or had different types of sugar in them
such as organic sugar from Hawaii or free trade sugar. I had sugar packets from many different places like the Barcilo
Maya hotel in Rivera Maya, Mexico. Also, my collection contained packets from Door County and other vacation spots. I
can identify with Chad about how he thinks that his collection makes him feel happy because I definitely got
> satisfaction from having my collection of sugar packets that I had gathered. To me each one seemed to have its own
story of where it came from. Yet my collection was not destined to last because of its "ant attracting propensity"
according to my mom. One day she saw it and thought that it had no purpose in the house so my entire collection was
thrown away just like that. Although I was only a sugar packet collector for a little more than half a year, I learned
enough about the hobby to better identify with how Chad feels about his packets.
> Chad told me that every time he gets a new packet it makes him feel happy. He also strongly feels that his sugar
packets are, as he said, "a sweet thing to collect." Pun definitely intended. Not only do his sugar packets make him feel
good when he is separating them and organizing them, he also enjoys the social aspect of sending and receiving
messages from his friends who also share his same sugary passion for
> packets. In his entire collection of sugar packets he has a few choice favorites. These packets are a series of packets
that are shaped like teacups. Chad says that these are his favorites because they are made out of tough paper and
they are well made. He said that he also likes the design of them. (source 4)                
>  Now looking back in my process journal and at how I felt at the beginning of this project I remember that I did not feel
too optimistic about my topic. I was worried that there wouldn't be any solid information about sugar packet collecting,
and I didn’t even know if anyone even seriously collected them. Lucky for me, I was able to stumble upon Chad's
website. He answered all my questions about sugar packets and showed me how many collectors have an extreme
passion for this unorthodox collectable. In doing more research, I uncovered a large sugar packet
> collecting subculture that I had unknowingly entered earlier as an amateur collector until my mom threw my packets
away. This subculture is social in nature. The hardest of hardcore collectors attend conventions and talk with other
collectors about recent finds. These things make for an interesting subculture of dedicated individuals devoted to their
precious sugar packets.
>