27 May

Bad bargains

We’ve already encountered two kinds of bad buys:

  • False Bargain #1 – You don’t need it (and were living quite happily without it)[1] so no matter how low the price is, it’s a waste of money.
  • False Bargain #2 – You buy it, but don’t use it. (At Christmastime, this is often a present you buy for someone but don’t give to them, maybe because you’re no longer sure they’ll like it or because you don’t think it’s good enough.)[2]

But there are some others:

  • False Bargain # 3 – It’s not actually cheap, in spite of the “Sale!” stickers all over it. (Unscrupulous retailers can shout that something is 25% off when they never intended to sell it at the “full” price.)
  • False Bargain # 4 – You can’t afford it. Make sure you focus on the $ sign rather than the % sign and remind yourself that a $200 crystal vase is not a good buy at an 80% discount if your budget is only $30. Concentrate on what’s still on the price, rather than what’s been taken off it.[3]
27 may 2016.jpg
An astonishing bargain if you like mince tarts. A waste of ten cents if you don’t.

I’ve been thinking about Hannah’s Plan B and I haven’t cracked it. She has had a standard number of boyfriends and they’ve all been nice enough but I’m not sure that she’s ever given her heart to one. She took the divorce pretty hard and I sometimes wonder if that’s a factor but I don’t see what else I could have done at the time[4] and I don’t see what else I could now either. But she’s such a treasure that I’m sure she’ll find Mr Right soon.

[1] My nephew Ben saved enough money from his part time job in his last year of uni to buy quite a decent second hand car. He said he achieved it by never, ever going shopping, so he never, ever was tempted to buy anything and never, ever missed what he hadn’t seen. (Wendy, while appreciating and encouraging her son’s thriftiness, mentioned to me later that Ben was only able to never, ever go to the shops because she gave him clothing for his birthday thus preventing him from being arrested for indecency for wearing transparent rags that were unlikely to hold together even to the next set of traffic lights.)

[2] I remember my mother taking a pottery pumpkin out of her present cache one December and saying “What made me think I knew anyone I could give this to?”

[3] And if the sale sign says “All shirts slashed!”, check that they’re in one piece.

[4] My ex was charming and fun and selfish and feckless. (I thought I had enough feck for both of us, but I discovered that it doesn’t work like that.)

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