December 4, 2016
Paying more for convenience, and entertainment
If you're a thrifty person like me (I grew up in the midwest!), you really like to get value for your money. You know what things cost, and you resent overpaying for something. And if you just bought something, and saw that you could have gotten it cheaper elsewhere, it can really be upsetting.
My first lesson on "how people who pay too much for something are stupid" came from going to the zoo with my family when I was a kid. I was just beginning to learn about money, and I was carefully taught by my parents that spending the same amount of money for one cup of soda (which was mostly ice, anyway) that you could buy a large bottle at the store (which would give you several servings) was stupid. And so I would watch the people walking around with their cups of soda and smile quietly as I knew that I was the smart one and they were the stupid ones. I would save my hard-earned money, and then later, at the store I would buy ten times the amount of soda that they were having now.
Of course, in my life I've seen a lot of stupid people. People who don't stop and think that if they did more careful shopping, they could get more value for their money. People who were just throwing their money away, living as if tomorrow would never come. And that's when I learned about the value of convenience, and entertainment.
The first time I bought a soda at the zoo it was amazingly delicious. It cost waaaayyyy to much, but I was really enjoying it. Even the monkeys seemed to be happy for me. Yeah, it was awful, raw, decadence, but I was doing it. I'd seen other people do it, and other people had bought sodas for me. They seemed to think that it was worth the money, so I wanted to know why? And that's when I started understanding the answer to "there's a sucker born every minute", which is "it's fun to be a sucker if you can afford it".
And yeah, buying a soda at the zoo made me a sucker. It was also convenient, and it added to the entertainment. And that was the first time that I realized that the suckers were having the most fun. The thrifty people were home, counting their pennies and eating stale bread and apples that had gone bad, and the suckers were out there at restaurants, throwing money around like drunken sailors.
I'm still a thrifty person. I know the value of money, how it works, how to budget, how to do all of the stuff that I wanted to know how to do when I became an adult. I have an excellent credit rating, I own a house, I've owned several new cars. I order stuff online and I always check to see if the price is right, and if I can get free shipping. But every once in a while I go crazy, and spend money in a reckless way. I will go to Walgreens and buy things that I don't really need. I've learned how to become a "sucker", and it's a wonderful feeling, if you can afford it, and I can.
Posted by Brad Hall