Yesterday was “Cyber Monday.” According to the radio news puppets, lots of people bought things online. Maybe I’m immune from the pressures of advertising because I don’t have a Tee Vee or maybe I’m just a Scrooge, but I didn’t give in to peer-pressure and shop online yesterday. I’m not opposed to shopping online. Truthfully, I didn’t even know it was “Cyber Monday” until I saw a commercial on the Motel Four Tee Vee Saturday night during the Notre Dame football game.
According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine),
“Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States, created by companies to persuade people to shop online.”
Having now lived without Tee Vee for thirteen years, I think I am more aware of marketing messages created by companies to persuade me to shop. When I watch Tee Vee commercials, I’m fascinated by the techniques companies create to persuade people to part with their money, either in stores or online. On Saturday night, I observed talking lizards, sloppy beer-drinking buffoons on couches, and wealthy NFL quarterbacks humiliated by school children.
I don’t remember a single thing they were selling.
I am a consumer. I don’t want to be, but because I live in a chicken-coop sized condo (The Coop) and work in a Big Corporation, it’s difficult for me to produce all of the goods and services I need to survive. I do try to grow my own vegetables in the summer, but I can’t have chickens, cows, or goats on the deck of my condominium. The level of my “production” is limited right now. Ten or so years ago, if someone had told me I would want chickens, cows, and goats, I would have flatly told them they were crazy.
Looking back over my life, I can see that I’ve always been a consumer; sadly, I think I’ve been a conspicuous consumer. It pains me to think I purchased certain consumer products in the hope that these things might help me obtain a better job, sophisticated friends, and a higher social status. I guess I wanted people to judge my soul based on my sole.
Don’t get me wrong; I love these little leather shoes. The soles have held me steady for hundreds of miles of walking around The Big Corporation and back and forth to Junior League meetings. They’ve worn well in the 6 years I’ve had them; a good pair of shoes should last at least 6 years. If I divide the cost of these shoes over the time I’ve worn them, they’ve cost me no more than a pair of discounted shoes at one of those big shoe buffets.
If I were to buy any Big Corporation or Junior League shoes in the next year, I would select this brand again based on my sole satisfaction.
Interestingly, I have never seen a commercial for this brand of shoe. One of my smart and stylish friends just happened to be wearing them one day; I said I liked them. This friend is a good steward of her money and she outlined all the reasons she selected this brand, not the least of which being the quality and endurance of the shoe soles. She implied they were built to last and that is important to her.
It’s important to me, too.
It’s not my style to hit people over the head with a shoe and tell them how to live. Some people want to shop for consumer goods at this time of year and they are free to do so. I am, however, suggesting that the answer for our soul struggles may not be for sale in any supermarket or shoe buffet and that’s why I’m going to be very thoughtful about my consumer habits this December.
My sole is not my soul; it never was and never will be. I’m glad I finally figured it out.
What thoughts are heavy on your soul this December? What is your plan to lighten your soul load?
Ever read The Millionaire Next Door? Now, this was over a decade ago, nearly two, so millionaires ain’t what they used to be, and he meant net worth, not annual income, but the millionaires he described owned their house outright in a quiet suburb, owned their own business(es), bought their suits off the rack, and their cars used. Noteworthy about the cars, there was an almost exact relationship between the weight of the car and its ability to hold its resale value–whether Mercedes S-class or F-350, the heavier the car, the better it held its value, and the more likely it was to be owned by the millionaire next door.
And therein lies something funny about the super rich, the “old money.” They don’t buy new wardrobes every year, they don’t chase fashion. The old “Preppie Handbook” is actually an invaluable guide to how little they actually consume, and though Brooks Brothers and Talbots are not fashionista, they last forever. They cost more up front, but they are worth it.
Your shoes, my dear, are in that class.
Dear Broth Pot,
While I agree with you in theory, there has been a general decline in clothing quality across all lines, including haute couture. No longer can I assume that paying “top dollar” will result in “top quality.” Add to this the diminishing quality of cotton due to GMO cotton seed and being dressed to the nines is almost impossible.
One solution I have found is the consignment shop in a higher-end zip code; vintage clothing also works at times.
Regarding “The Preppy Handbook,” Birnbach did a 30th anniversary revision called “True Prep” which smelled a bit like a promotion and not Chanel No. 5.
Thanks for your ever-thoughtful comments and I loved the car weight quality equation!
‘ll sneak this in while you’re out with your huge group of girls. You’re right, top dollar and top quality are not the same. But paying more for quality usually works much to your advantage in the long run. Even Salvation Army and similar stores, if located in the right neighborhood, can offer great bargains.
The car weight quality equation was the author’s, not mine, truth in, well, commenting.
For giggles, google “Camorra” and “Angelina Jolie,” look for a .pdf that is the first chapter of Gomorra. If you’re really interested in with whom and how haute couture plays, that is..
Okay, my google-fu is weak, even I can’t find that .pdf now. I guess you’ll have to get the book (author: Roberto Saviano) from the library if you’re interested.