I did something this week that I have not done in a long time.  I went shopping with my wife, mother-in-law (mom) and my sister-in-law.  I went because they needed a driver, due to the snowy roads.  The trip reminded me why I don’t spend much time in Shopping malls.  Between the expert drivers in the parking lots, and the wonderful crowds in the stores, (Yes even Canadians get ill mannered at a SALE.)  I remembered why I would rather sit in front of my computer and write articles like this one.

The trip reminded me that consumerism is alive and well, even thought Canadian households have the highest DEBT levels in history.  We are just emulating our Premiers and Prime Ministers I guess.  So much for good roll models.  On a shopping trip with three women, there is not a lot for a guy to do in the ladies wear and house wares departments.  People watching is entertaining for only a short while.  I often entertain myself by sparring with a sales person.  Comments like, “Do you really think that mixer is worth $450.00???” are normally good for getting a debate started.  Today, it is hard to even find a sales person in a store.  So I was looking at the displays when one in particular caught my eye.

It was a table full of stuff painted white with black pock a dots.  The picture is one of those items.  My wife has a major collection of tin boxes of every shape and size.  So this plain little tin box caught my attention.  Why was it on this table??  Was there anything special about it?  What made it special was, that It was part of the Kate Spade Collection!!!  I was told that she designed the box. 

I had my doubts about that, as the box looked just like the many boxes in my wife’s collection.  As a matter of fact, the construction was not a good as most of my wife’s.  So I looked at the price.  Holy Cow Batman!!!  They wanted some poor sucker, opps, customer, to pay $33.00 for that mass produced, cheap, tin box!!!

I was absolutely shocked!  Who would be that gullible as to pay that much money for a tin box,  I thought there must be something inside of the box to justify the price.  No, there wasn’t anything in the box.  The $33.00 was for an EMPTY BOX.  OMG!!  The sales lady was completely perplexed about my reaction.  She honestly felt that $33.00 was a fair price for this item.

Everyone that know me, knows that I am frugal. (A polite word for CHEAP)  I follow the first rule of Wealth Accumulation.  It is not how much you make, It is how much you KEEP!  So paying $33.00 for simple tin box, just because it has someones name on it, is not something I can easily understand.  

Here is a picture of one of the many tin boxes my wife owns.  As you can see, this box is even fancier than the Kate Spade box.  It has curved sides and, you can’t tell from the picture, but it is a couple of gauges thicker than the other one.  It has been around for several years, as indicated by the dent.  It has been used over and over to hold presents.  My wife got this box for $12.95 (on sale).  But as an added bonus, this box came full of delicious cookies.

I know that I have some deficient gene.  But paying an outrageous price for something, just because it has a popular name on it, is just something that makes no sense to me.  I have seen hundreds of examples of this over the years.  My children were not born with this gene deficiency, but have had experiences that taught them the lessons of practicality.  I will give the example of my daughter.  In grade 8 all the cool kids were wearing “STARTER” coats.  So for Christmas my daughter asked for a STARTER coat.  We went looking for one, and found that they were in the $250.00 to $300.00 range.  We, at that time, just could not afford that kind of expense.

So we looked for something close.  We got one that looked very similar, and was even better made for a more reasonable price.  Christmas morning, my daughter was definitely disappointed.  It broke out hearts.  She wore the coat to school for a couple of days with a very sad face.  Then one day she came in from the bus very happy.  She came and gave my wife and I a big hug.  We were confused.  Then my daughter told us that she really liked her new coat, and she was glad we had not bought the name brand.  We were even more confused.  She explained that one of her friends had ripped her name brand coat while she was playing.  When she got home, she got into big trouble for not looking after such an expensive coat better. A couple of the other girls had lost their coats because their parents were afraid that the same would happen. They were all back at school with their old coats, and my daughter was the only one who was wearing a NEW coat.

I have seen this HYPE with all kinds of products.  Buying a hockey jersey with Auston Matthews name on it does not turn you into a player with his ability.  Buying a “Trump” mattress does not make you Donald Trump.  (Thank goodness)  I entitled this post “Could someone explain this?” because I real would like to understand this situation.  Why do so many people pay a huge price for something that makes them poorer, while making some one rich, even richer??  Wouldn’t you rather be rich yourself??