Material goods


My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
Perhaps someone here can enlighten me. My husband and I were out on a date (woohoo!) tonight and of course, we kept seeing cars that were all tricked out with lights and tvs and every little thing they could pack on there to let people know how cool they are. We passed stores selling a pair of jeans for $150 and regular old t-shirts for $40.

Now, I like comforts in life as most people do, but for the most part, the things I buy have a practical purpose. My clothes generally are cheap, though I will sometimes splurge on a really good pair of shoes like the Keens I recently purchased. I don't wear designer anything. I don't have tvs in my car or purple lights around my license plate. I will spend money on little extras like books and organic meat. I will not spend money on something as frivilous (in my eyes anyway), as clothes with a "label".

My question is, what is it about these material goods that makes people want them? Why do you want the jeans that cost $150 versus the ones that cost $30? Why will you pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of sunglasses? What is the purpose behind a purple light under your car or tvs in all the headrests and the dashboard? What kind of treatment do you expect or actually receive because you own those kinds of things? I really don't get it. If I splurge, it's on something like a new harness for my dog to wear while mushing, or a few new chickens. It's not anything that has any kind of status symbol related to it. So what is the appeal behind all the extravagent material possessions I see people spending their hard-earned money on?
I don't splurge........ dont see the point is designer labels.... and most times it is the cheaper label that lasts the longest.... works for me anyway.... what chicken can appreciate a label anyway... I always look like a bag lady when outside with my girls... but they love me anyway.... my only extravagance is my face cream.... cheap one makes me itch.... even then the one I always use comes from the supermarket!
When I spluge, it is for chickens or books or DVDs. I don't like to spend money on things that don't add value to my life. I don't care what people think of me. I like nice clothes and jewelry but I hunt them down in the outlets and on deep discount. I don't understand the whole point of status symbols.
There is a book that Oprah pushed called "A New Earth" that explains it pretty well. It talks about the collective ego, and about how people want something to satisfy the ego. When they get it, the ego is assuaged for a short time, then wants more. the book explains it better, but what it boils down to is be happy with what you have, all the rest is fluff.
I don't splurge, either. I buy the cheap, toilet paper, instead of that expensive,"green" stuff.
I buy the meat with the manger's special tag on it, which is one day away, from being discarded, instead of that expensive, fancy label,"Organic raised" meat.
For one
to each its own

I LOVE designer brand clothes because they fit nothing like that crap that cost 30.00. But Im incredibly thrifty and I only shop at thrift stores. I once purchased a pair of jeans (Seven for all Mankind) that sells at Saks for 250.00 and I only paid 2.00. I sold them on Ebay for 100.00 and still to this day regret selling them because the were like a dream pair of jeans. However there are some brands that are 50.00 a pair and are the equivalent to those 20.00 jeans. Some designer names are no better than what you find at WAlmart and ironically will end up at Walmart after a couple years. Example they now sell Baby Phat "Phat Fashions" at Walmart. When those jeans were in department stores selling for 60.00 I tried them on and knew they werent worth what they were selling them for.

I have never been into the car tweeking. For a YOUNG man its a ego booster. The better the things he owns he feels like the HEAD ROOSTER in the yard.
I spend money on shoes. Mainly good sensible shoes because my feet have to hold me up for a lifetime and they didn't get the best start in life thanks to my parents being cheap.

That said, I admit to owning 2 pairs of John Fluevogs. One pair of knee length lace up leather boots that were on sale for $150 and my thoroughly outrageous splurge of $265 for the shoes I would wear for my graduating recital. As a musician, how can one not own a pair of shoes with musical notes in the sole?

All my other footwear is practical.

I always buy my jeans from the Gap - only because I am ridiculously skinny for my height and I have a very hard time finding jeans long enough in the leg that don't fall off because the waist is larger than my hips.

I don't get all this business of tvs in cars and stuff. I actually find it really distracting when I am driving behind someone who has their tv on. I guess it is advertising and keeping up with the Jones
I wonder if it is sort of like gold jewelry and silk shirts on pirates. Working-class folks who don't have other property, aren't respected/famous for being rich in other ways, sort of thing, so they buy wearable property.

For what it's worth, the Old Money Boston Brahmins out here are still of the mindset that it's only the Nouveau Riche who stoop to such displays. The idea is, when you're secure in your wealth, you don't bother to make the display because everyone knows you are a Kennedy or a Rockefeller or whatever, so you can go about in Gap khakis and an ugly golf shirt. Their idea of "name brand" is a discreet bronze plaque on a large brick building with their name on it.

To me, the ostentatious displays are indeed a kind of insecurity thing. My mother is really into dressing up in name brand stuff, wearing fancy jewelry, mostly because her mother never did and couldn't afford to if she'd wanted to. So to her, fancy clothes and jewelry means she has achieved more than her mother. But she is very insecure about money and puts on these affected airs when talking to people she thinks of as upper-class. They, in turn, don't quite know what to make of her.
It's funny you should mention this; on Friday my family and I went to the local Museum of Natural History for a homeschool field trip with the kids.
In their Native American section, they have an extensive display of very rare, very old pieces of Jewlery and the entire collection was titled as "Wearable Property".
There was a paragraph of information along side it explaining nearly the exact thing you say above, how they couldn't afford to be rich with land or that the owners may not have been related to the chief or anything but they could still be viewed as "rich" with their adornment of themselves.
What struck me at the time was that some of the items "for fashion" then and to look "of importance" were really uncomfortable things! Like a necklace made nearly entirely of golfball sized rocks, (MUST have weighed a TON!), and ancient Hawian tribal people of high standing also slept on "head rests" which were literally like wood or metal pipes on legs to keep their heads up off the ground while they slept because they were too good to have their heads on the ground and it was also to protect their elaborate haristyles.
What can you think of that reminds you of these things in todays society?
One thing that immeadiately came to mind were insanely priced designer high heels...

It sang loud and clear to me that no matter what the time period was, the saying Beauty Hurts has always been alive and well!

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