An open plea: if you have our To Kill a Mockingbird DVD, could you let me know? It's been missing for months, and I've the urge to watch it.
I was in the mall on Friday, redeeming a gift certificate. It's the first time I've been in a mall in months. Years, maybe. Then I went to another mall again yesterday. A game store is going out of business, and they've got stuff for 40% off. How could I resist? Now I've been in a mall twice in three days, when I hadn't been in a mall twice in the three previous years.
This woman I know, she likes to shop. She likes to buy makeup and clothing and purses and shoes. This might not be so bad except that she works at a major department store in a major mall. She gets a large discount in the store where she works, and the temptation is too much to ignore. Her charge card is full and getting fuller. (Imagine what it'd be like if I worked in a bookstore.)
Her husband is always complaining about how much money she spends. He complains so often, and so loudly, that she feels oppressed, has begun to hide her spending from him.
The other day she came home with another new shirt. Her husband bawled her out, but she took it just the same as always. (I can just imagine her arguments, her rationalizations: "Don't you want me to look nice?") Later, when she went to hang the shirt in the closet, the closet organizer collapsed, destroyed by the mass of clothing she'd accumulated. She was forced to pull everything from the closet and to stack it on the bed. It formed a pile that covered half the queen-size mattress about two feet deep.
"I feel sick to my stomach," she told her husband.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I didn't know I had this many clothes," she said.
"I knew," he said. "How could you not know?" He shook his head in disbelief.
There's a Mexican family that cleans this couples' house. To make room in the closet, the woman boxed up about $2000 worth of clothing and gave it to them. Again, her husband was flabbergasted. "How could you do that?" he asked. "Why not return them?" Apparently they were too old to return. "Then why not sell them in a consignment shop? Or, at the very least, donate them to Goodwill so we can get a tax write-off."
Eventually, the woman agreed to return some of her most recent purchases. Last night, she went out with her mother to make the returns. They were gone for two hours. Her husband became suspicious.
"What did you buy?" he asked when they came home.
"We didn't buy anything," she said.
"How could it take two hours just to make those returns?" he asked, but she denied having bought anything. Then, this morning, he discovered the receipt for a $500 purse. He was flabbergasted. He woke her and confronted her.
"Didn't you just buy a $200 purse a couple of weeks ago?" he asked.
"Yes," she said.
"And didn't you just buy a new Coach purse last week?" he asked.
"Yes," she said.
"Then why did you spend $500 on another purse?" he asked.
"I only spent $100," she said. When it was clear that her husband didn't follow her line of reasoning, she explained, "You made me return all of those other clothes. With the returns, that the purse only cost $100."
He husband wanted to cry. Instead, he asked, "Why in hell do you need three new purses?"
"I only have two," she said.
"How is that two? That's three new purses this month alone," he said.
"I plan on returning one," she said. And then she muttered under her breath, "It's almost as if you don't even want a wife." As if wifedom equaled purses and clothing and spending.
This couple moved not long ago. The husband was packing up the stuff in the bathroom. He boxed up the woman's makeup kit and then, as he continued, he found another one.
"Why do you have two makeup kits?" he asked her.
"Huh," she said. "I didn't know I did."
He continued to pack, and as he did he found another makeup kit. And another.
"Four makeup kits!?!" he said. "Why do you need four makeup kits?"
"I was wondering what had happened to those," said the woman.
Before he was finished packing, he'd found three more makeup kits. In all, he found seven makeup kits in the bathroom. He estimates that they each one contained at least $100 worth of makeup. He figures that now, at least in theory, the woman has a life-time supply of makeup.
The woman doesn't just dress herself in expensive clothing; she also dresses her children in posh outfits. It's as if Baby Gap were created especially for her. It's caused her husband no end of grief to realize that his children have destroyed hundreds (thousands?) of dollars worth of clothing, smothering them with dirt and blood and shit and piss and jelly and soup, tearing them in fights and bike crashes and general childhood antics. I suggested that maybe she could buy her kids' clothes at a thrift store; she wouldn't be caught dead in a thrift store.
I just don't understand the mall-shopping mentality. It's so far removed from my experience. Why pay so much for clothing? And why buy so many clothes? (Okay — I'm treading a fine line with that lost comment. I still have a half-dozen unopened Costco shirts at the bottom of my closet, shirts that won't fit now that I'm losing weight!)
I also don't understand why so many women of my acquaintance spend hundreds of dollars on their hair each year. To what end? Mostly, their hair looks great in its natural state. Yet many women go in once a month — if not more often — to have their hair "sculpted" and tinted. I think that, almost without exception, tinting makes hair look worse, not better. (If you're tinting an unnatural color — like blue or green — then I can understand, but to have your hair tinted dishwater blond? Or grey? Why?)
Obviously, this entire entry can be construed as the pot calling the kettle black. After all, I spend hundreds of dollars every year in a frivolous fashion. I don't spend the money on my hair or my wardrobe; I spend it on books.
Kris and I keep our finances completely separate. This strikes many people as goofy, but it works for us. We never fight about money. (The only time we've ever fought about money was when I wanted to buy a house and she didn't.) Contrary to most relationships, I'm the spender in the family, and even then, I just spend to my limit, not beyond it (though this hasn't always been the case).
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Cat Pictures Today this space features photos of my cats. Isn't that what weblogs are all about?
2003 — Pillows Which of these images do you prefer?
2002 — Back in the Saddle The weather and my free time finally aligned today! I made my first ride of the year. Rides, actually.