She spent over $300 on a bottle of perfume. In the moment of purchase, she felt high on a new drug. It was ludicrous. This was the first time she had ever used her own hard-earned cash for such a superfluous transaction. She grew up under a budget. She learned to stretch her paycheck and rub the green off a dollar. She now lived anticipating the next bill due. But this extra cash, she said it was ‘burning a hole in her hand.’ She may have lived on the lower-income scale, but she still managed to associate herself with moneyed people and occasional luxuries. Fancy clothes, fancy jewelry, fancy meals…they weren’t new -just not at her expense. There was always a current beau. That’s why this moment of purchase was turning a key, a new independence. It represented so much more than simply buying a new bottle of perfume. She wasn’t now flush with cash all of the sudden, but she wanted to change her mind about abundance. Feel the feeling of being able to have what she wanted.
Sadly, the idea of the luxury item didn’t live up to the hype. She sprayed it on herself maybe a dozen times. It was way too sweet, cloyingly so. The lifestyle evocative of the purchase was a life she would never afford. Since she never wore the perfume, it turned out to be a waste. It sat as décor collecting dust in the vanity tray on her dresser. The bottle was so shapely, iconic and gorgeous; it was now a piece of art on display to assuage the guilt. The receipt was saved in her wallet for so long, it became too faded to read. This served as a token reminder of ‘that one time’ she felt high on the hog. It was all she could do to not sink into regret about wasting money. It was the one and only time she ever did such a thing in her entire life.
She loved it so much, but it broke her heart, too.
We are bombarded with ads. We are bombarded with news about celebrities. It makes sense then, we are bombarded with every way to replicate their lives via fast fashion and the goods, services, and foods they consume. People do turn around and buy things influencers promote, after all, or they wouldn’t be called influencers.
Women are terrible in regards to aspirational purchasing: the shoes without an outfit; the outfit without the invitation; the dress without a party. All of this purchase for no guarantee. A lot of buying is based in emotion. Boredom is the main culprit.
Fast fashion is a product of ripping off name brands for mass consumption. The aspirations of the less affluent consumer desiring the same look without the same price tag. All of it is at the expense of human labor in both the production, shipping, and delivering. Landfills are stacked to the high-heavens with items worn once. A circle of constant consumption and waste. Sadly, people have become conditioned to value things -or to value labels as status; or to virtue signal how much better they are with their purchases, like electric vehicles or sun panels.
We are all guilty of food waste -buying too much to eat or throwing out the wilted or spoiled or leftovers forgotten about; shopping while hungry and purchasing excess.
I am guilty of aspirational reads –buying books that get put into stacks or shelved and forgotten about.
I consider all of the tiny items bought to fill stockings this time of year; filled for the sole purpose of stuffing. How many things are actually useful or necessary? We purchase for the idea of it all.
I love the joy of the holiday season and seeing people not seen in ages, but no one can deny how consumer-driven it’s become. Don’t buy people gifts they don’t need.
I was gifted diamond hoop earrings set in silver many years ago. I never really wore them, because I don’t like big hoop earrings, and I prefer gold to silver. Two weeks ago, I had a moment in which I wanted to wear them and couldn’t find them. I went through both jewelry boxes, combed through every layer of everything. There was a sneaky suspicion I donated them with a bunch of costume jewelry recently. I felt sick about it all last week. But I also thought to myself, ‘I never wore them, now I want them when I don’t have them.’ Funny how that happens. It dawned on me two days ago that I actually re-gifted them last year to a family member on her 16th birthday, because she always wears hoop earrings. She did appreciate them more than I could.