15 January 2008

money conscience

My stomach always tells me when I have spent money I should not have spent. It feels sick and heavy. This happened to me a few weeks ago, at the mall, when I had gone into a store to find some small-diameter candles. I picked out two or three of them, but when I got to the counter, the girl told me that there was a sale, and if I bought two aromatherapy items, I could get two free. Free! I wandered around the store for another 30 minutes, choosing and unchoosing, and then I got in line again, and waited, and got to the front of the line, and watched the clerk ring up my items.

And then I freaked out. My stomach said, "No, no, no!" and I stopped the clerk, with the six people waiting in line behind me, and said, "Actually, I just want those two candles. Can you take the others off?" It wasn't the money, because I went on to buy several far more expensive clothing items (that I needed) in the mall. It was the utter needlessness of the expense, and I just couldn't do it.

The same thing happened again last week. I had made up my mind to buy a tv the next time I saw a reasonable one at Goodwill. My friend M. pointed out that I can download many of the shows I like online (and the truth is that I watch tv so seldom as to make owning a tv ridiculous), but I thought ahead to being a real lawyer and how I might be, of an evening, tired of the computer and of words, and how there are things like Masterpiece Theatre that are harder to get online and maybe you are just blitzed sometimes and want to see what's on. Also, I already paid for the cable to be installed. So I thought maybe I would get a cheap tv, if one was available, and then I can cancel cable later if I prove not to use it.

I found a $30 tv ($27 with the member's discount) and I loaded it up on my grandma cart and started for home.

I made it as far as the grocery store one block over before the sick feeling in my stomach made me turn around and return it.

Except, despite my having bought the tv not ten minutes before, they would only give me a store credit. Either way, the money was gone.

It turned out well, though, because after more thinking about the tv concept, I checked in again today, to find a smaller, more convenient, $20 tv. And with my store credit, I got both that tv and a pair of shoes, and I trucked them home. Without the grandma cart. The shoes fit in my backpack, but I carried the tv in my arms, linking my fingers on the far side of it. People driving by pointed and stared, although I can't figure out why. Or maybe I am paranoid and that guy in the truck was telling his friend where to turn.

Carrying of a tv for ten or so blocks turns out to be extremely bad for arms that tend toward nerve problems. For several hours afterwards, I couldn't feel my hands. That's a bad sign 'round here, especially since all this studying has already driven me back to wearing the long arm brace on my right arm at night.

Now I have a little tv on my little table that I bought with the couch last week. The unfortunate thing is that it doesn't work with the cable. At least, it didn't automatically work when I plugged everything in. I've never had cable before, so I don't know what the procedure is. When the cable guy was here, he said something along the lines of, "Now, when you get a tv, the first thing you need to do is..." and of course I did not bother to listen to what that one thing was. I just now got out the instruction book from the company, but what with the bar class and all, I have read too much instructional material already today and my brain is tired. I don't feel like opening it.

Oh, well. I didn't need to watch tv tonight, anyway.

(By the way, is it weird to buy shoes at Goodwill? Used shoes? I'm not too picky about things like used shoes/bedding/towels/whatever, but it seemed kind of weird. The thing is, I am attempting to conserve money for a post-exam bar trip (announcement of destination soon!), and shoes are insanely expensive. The comfortable kind, anyway, and then you need different ones for the walking around in the Northwest rain days than for the working days, especially if you are a woman. It adds up. I had just come from two stores that had (work and life) shoes I liked - for $129+. These were $6.99 and were not substantially different in appearance from the $129 ones. I put some baking powder in then when I got home, just in case. Eh. Who cares if it is weird?)


Monday's Child said...

it's not weird... I'm insanely jealous in fact, I wish I could buy shoes as easily as that... I have horrible short wide feet that are almost square and it is impossible for me to find shoes.. let alone compfortable ones, never mind attractive looking... I think that this is the real reason I live where I live and do what I do... I can permanently live in flipflops :-)

Monday's Child said...

I spelt comfortable wrong, didn't I?