When you read a magazine, do you get annoyed when you come across the “Splurge vs. Steal” section? Who are these mythical people that consider a $200 pair of jeans a steal? If I pay the full $30 for a pair of jeans at Old Navy, instead of opting for a pair from Goodwill, that is a splurge. Spoiling yourself should not equate with the annual budget for a small island country.
I assume most of the people reading these magazines feel the same way I do. I mean, if you are the type of person who spends two bills on a pair of pants, why would you be reading a magazine? You wouldn’t. You’d be off auditioning aspiring male models for the position of your “gardener” while you indulge in prepackaged, premeasured gourmet vegan cuisine that is delivered to your doorstep by carrier pigeon.
I had to go shopping for a new handbag yesterday. My 2 year old $15 clearance special from Target was on its last legs, so I set out to procure a replacement. I went to a supposedly discount store, and found a single bag for less than $100. I understand that the materials are more expensive, and the workmenship is superior, but what kind of tricks is that bag going to have to perform to prove itself a better value than my bargain bin find? Does it not just hold my cellphone, but actually retrieves it from the pile of disorganized belongings that always find themselves on the bottom of my purse? Does it put money in my wallet when I’m not looking?
Spending money on a handbag is probably an acceptable purchase. Most of us carry them every day, and they do have to be tough enough to handle toddlers, baggage handlers, and the jaws of pets. But yesterday while searching for my bag, I came across an insanely expensive and equally insanely ridiculous faux fur vest. Really? Has anyone ever NOT looked like a complete idiot wearing a fur vest? Do we actually need to shell out a week’s paycheck for the privilege of looking like a teddy bear amputee?
We have stuff for our stuff. What’s a charger? It’s a plate for a plate. We have carrying cases for our tampons, lest some acquaintance rifle through our purses and recoil in horror from the slightest reminder than women actually menstruate. The standard wedding gift has become a fondue set, so that the one time every decade you eat fondue, you can do so from special pot that ensures the cheese is just slightly hotter than boiling despite being on the lowest setting. Recently, I FINALLY gave up on my Big Top Cupcake mold, from which I produced one slightly misshapen but gigantic cupcake.
It’s silly. When I moved in with my husband, I remember remarking to a friend that at last, I had knives. Ben had a whole set of proper knives, from the butcher down to the paring. As a bachelorette, I had exactly one sharp knife. No longer would I hang my head in shame as I sliced a tomato with a tool meant to cut bread. No! I would have access to the proper equipment!
You know what- the tomatoes I sliced with the bread knife still tasted like tomatoes. They still fit neatly between the slices of bread on my sandwich. And I only had one knife to wash. God, maybe twenty something Kat had it all figured out. Perhaps I need to move back into a studio apartment and reassemble that stellar bong collection.
I am no goody two shoes philanthropist, but I have often wondered- what would happen if we took all that money we spent so frivolously and spent it on something worthwhile? Like helping a family eat or a person go to college or just making another human being’s day a little better. What if we all quit buying trays for deviled eggs and ten flavors of chapstick and moisteners for stamps and other silly bullshit, and just spent it on something that would actually buy happiness. Isn’t that what we are really trying to do, buy happiness? I think we all feel the best when we do something for someone else, we just forget that giving can be a daily activity.
Maybe the first step for me should be to stop buying dumbass magazines that print this “splurge vs. steal” bullshit and just use that $3 for just about anything else- probably just throwing it out the window of my car would prove to be more satisfying and beneficial. Every month, I get annoyed at the blatant play on what it means to be successful, but every month, I get excited when I see a new mag in my mailbox.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to step down from my soapbox and go stuff myself with chocolate. But not just any chocolate- a special reserve dark chocolate truffle with a virgin’s blood liquid center and a platinum glaze. Enjoy!