April 5, 2008

Spendthrift Nation

Every week, I do the exact same stupid thing. Without fail. I do the grocery shopping, which I loathe, and as I round each aisle, I see a new display of some product. I pause, think to myself, 'those must be on sale', and decide if I don't need a couple today, I'm sure I will tomorrow. After all, they're on sale. I toss whatever it is in the cart, and carry on.

And then, that night, or the next day, I get the advertising flyers, and find out I paid full pop for something that is on sale - now. I am an idiot.

I wish they would cover the display with a tarp until I'm gone.

If I'm really lucky, I'll come home, put on the TV, and see the World's Worst Commercial. A family singing about cheese, to Aretha Franklin's RESPECT. It is the most disrespectful purloining of a tune I can recall, and that's saying something when every old rocker is pimping everything from phones to pickup trucks. Usually when I really hate a commercial, I can just boycott a product. But when it's something general like cheese, no single brand will suffer. And the Cheese Marketing Board, or whatever it's called, can merrily scoot along, stupidly believing that their ad agency did a stellar job, as cheese sales are holding steady. Well, duh.

As I was sighing over my ever-expanding grocery bill, CNN delivered to my inbox the list of items that are signalling that the rich are experiencing a tiny financial meltdown of their own. Apparently feeling the pinch are purveyors of high end hotel bookings, steak, golf, yachts and pilates. Yup. When times get tough, the rich have to swap private pilates classes for group ones. And I get upset that I've overpaid for Charmin.

Our economy is headed for tougher times; with Sock Monkey to the south tanking his own fiefdom through a vile and illegal war while the bankers never saw a mortgage they couldn't approve, the road ahead is strewn with mines. But we will surely feel the pinch ourselves, and job losses have already started. When the people that buy your stuff run out of money (or borrowing power), there is pain.

We are a careless generation, however. We carry more personal debt than any before us, and for the stupidest things imaginable. You may have seen this about a woman in the U.S., totally peeved at the shabby treatment she was receiving on welfare. Unfortunately, the photo accompanying the article showed her sitting next to a huge TV, that she was apparently totally entitled to own. After all, aren't we all deserving of everything we want, regardless of our ability to work, earn, and act responsibly?

My father hated credit cards and refused to use them. When he bought a new car, he started saving for the next one. 'Owing' was an evil word. Today, people are not paying a cent on furniture that will be trashed before the first payment is due. They are making minimum payments on credit cards for meals they crapped out 3 years ago.

'Fiscal responsiblity' is such a boring plan. It so goes against the theory that we need a TV in every room, and a new car every few years, and blond highlights every few months (see: guilty). I knew a woman once who saw the amount of credit still unused on her credit card as money. Money she had to spend. That pesky amount owing was just a detail.

As much as it sometimes pains me to say it, my old man was right. We're not only providing the music for ourselves as we march up the road to economic meltdown, we're holding the doors for ourselves every step of the way.

And now, I have to go stock up on Charmin, at the sale price.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated the commercial with the KFC guy hawking wings & clapping while saying: "they saucy".

April 05, 2008 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Lorraine, the cheese commericals are just that, cheesy. The one you mention and the old lady around trying to get the kids out of the house by not letting them eat cheese, I would be looking for a new advertising company or person. They suck!

April 07, 2008 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe the KFC commercial writer is available?

April 07, 2008 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article! I so love your writing style.

Question - do you think people working at WalMart can afford their products?

Mr. D from Muskoka

April 23, 2008 10:46 PM  

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