Monday, January 25, 2010

Situational Cheapness

I am struggling to write today. Not just because this rainy grayness makes me want to hibernate, or because all the crap of real life is making me feel VERY unfunny, but because it is pitch black in here. Again. Because I am too cheap to buy a decent lamp. The light of the computer adds a certain ambiance, but is making the typing more of a challenge then it needs to be. The pull cord has torn off, and I can't really find another functional lamp in the house, because all of them are broken in one way or another.Years and years of buying cheap lamps has come to this. Darkness.

I have Situational Cheapness. By nature, I am not cheap at all, and when it comes to shoes, cosmetics or the people i love, i am fine with spending. In fact, I enjoy it very much.. But I have this Situational Cheapness that WILL NOT allow me to spend money on certain items. I absolutely cannot bring myself to buy some every day things at full price, even though I can afford them. And it comes back to bite me, over and over again, because I end up replacing things or sitting in the dark, as I am now. Beside lamps, here are the biggies that pain me to pay full price for:

1. Textiles of any kind. Curtains, sheets, blankets, and especially towels. That has meant no light blockage, low thread count, unraveling duvets and being covered with navy blue lint after a shower for MONTHS. And yet, I persist.

2. Rugs. There is a practical reason for this. My family. This is a messy, messy house, and there are dirty shoes and dog bone remnants everywhere, so buying a rug anywhere but Target or Lowe's seems foolish. But they pill, they unravel, they get easily discolored. And those aforementioned dog bones? On a cheap rug, they get imbedded in the overly large weave and I have to clean them off with a frigging toothbrush. So yes, I am the fool.

3. Vacuum Cleaners. I finally broke down and bought the Dyson after going through three vacuum cleaners in a year. I cannot explain the high mortality rate, and cannot attribute it to one particular style of machine, since I got canister, upright, bagless, bagful, with attachments, pretty colors....the huge amount of pet hair may have caused the suicides of these generally dependable FOREVER machines. My parents had the same vacuum cleaner for 20+ years. And because I couldn't bring myself to spring for the Cadillac, I ended up buying two, though the first one came in three pieces.

I am trying to learn from the old adage "You get what you pay for." But I can't do it. Because it is so inconsistently true. I have purchased expensive boots that have disintegrated after two wearings, and cheap boots that I have had for ten years. It used to be absolutely true that more expensive crap was better. And now it isn't. I know someone who paid $6000 to record with a big name producer, and their CD sounds....well...not like it cost $6000. Sometimes spending a lot of money is smart, sometimes it isn't. Until i have a foolproof way of knowing whether expensive=better or cheap=worse, i will stick with my weirdnesses and play the odds. Maybe I'll hit it right on the kitchen chairs I need to buy. The IKEA chairs lasted longer than the Crate and Barrel chairs. But who goes through this many kitchen chairs?

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