Tuesday February 10, 2004


[ The first of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]


Even though the holidays are over, what's on your wish list? What material things are you drooling over right now? Why?

Speaking of material things, what is your gratification policy? Do you try to get what you want as soon as possible or do you prefer to take your time before acquiring new things? Why? What cultural, environmental, spiritual, and/or familial elements shape your policy?

What material things am I drooling over right now?

Books. Always books. More books!

Why? You have to ask? Because, well, because they're books! Books books beautiful books. One can NEVER have too many books. (Actually, one can, because one runs out of shelf space, but I digress).

Prying my thoughts away from More Books!, I'm drooling for a version 2 iPod. Not because I need one, you understand, because I surely don't. Given that I am, at present, jobless (again or still, take your pick), I don't even use the iPod I already have (a 10GB version 1 that is nowhere near to being full). I only drool for the version 2 because Hubby got one and it's sooo spiffy with that cool dock and all those wonderful attachments (that I don't need either) that only attach to the version 2 machines. Sigh.

I'm drooling for a PowerMac G5, too. As with the iPod, it's not like I need one. My blue&white G3 does everything I need. It has never let me down. But the G5 is so FAST. Hubby is similarly drooling. He came into my office the other day and said "I simply can't rationalize a G5. I spend 10 hours a day at work and I'm not going to buy myself a G5 to take to work. I'm hardly in my office at home except on weekends, 'cause when I get home I crash. So it makes no sense to buy one for home. It makes no sense to buy one, period, but I sure wish it did." I sympathize. I'm home all day and even if I had the money (which I don't) I can't begin to rationalize a "need".

But then, both the iPod and the G5 have very high Toy Value. Does one really need to justify a desire for things of high Toy Value?

My gratification policy is fairly simple - if I see something and I think I can afford it, I buy it. My standards for "can afford" tend to follow this line of reasoning: under $20 is a no-brainer, under $50 takes thought, under $100 takes Serious thought, over $100 requires Discussion, over $500 requires Serious Discussion and (hopefully) buy-in (literally) from Hubby.

My gratification policy needs adjustment.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with this policy. Problem number 1 is, when you don't have a job, you don't have an income; when you don't have an income, even $20 should require at least Serious Thought. Sigh.

Problem number 2 is, even when I do have money, all those "no-brainers" can add up to a number in the "Serious Discussion" category fairly quickly (as I learned back when I had a job and simultaneously discovered DVDs at half.com. Yowza! (but I did have fun) ).

My family has always been of the "if it makes sense and we can afford it we will buy it" mentality. I wasn't brought up on budgets or allowances or working chores for money. My first "real" big ticket item purchase was the year after I graduated High School. I decided I wanted a camera, a 35mm SLR Pentax K-1000 to be precise. At that time, that camera cost $500. That summer, I took my first summer job (that was the first summer that my family didn't go on our usual summer vacation. In retrospect, I'm never quite sure how I feel about that. But I did love the camera.) I hardly spent a dime until I had the money for the camera. All money I got for anything went into the bank. Everything I spent went into a book. When I had enough money my Dad and I went to the store and bought my camera.

Looking back, I'm both proud and astonished at how disciplined I was in saving and not spending. I have never been that disciplined before or since.

In Grad School, I was essentially a pauper (redundant, huh?) so I didn't spend much. When I got my first job, I was, suddenly, relatively wealthy. Also, I had met Hubby shortly after I started Grad school, and it wasn't just me anymore when I got that first post-grad school job. Hubby was a well-paid independent computer consultant. So... thus began my (no longer feasible but deeply ingrained) purchasing strategy. The only thing that has changed much in the past 20 years is the monetary values attached to the levels. $20 used to require thought back when ATM units weren't so... disposable.

Desire ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 10 Feb, 20:37 Pacific | «e»