The Age of Stuff 2016-02-11

imageWhen I was a kid if I did all my chores, I was awarded a weekly allowance of 25 cents which could by 5 giant candy bars at 5 cents each, one for each day Monday-Friday. I would stop by Schmitt’s corner grocery store after school and buy one of my favorites. I particularly liked Snickers, Payday, and Almond Joy. Those were the days. I was a chubber bubber with a home perm, my sister’s blue hand-me-down dress, and $3 white canvas pointy-toed tennis shoes looking forward to a sweet treat on the walk home after a long school day.

Flash forward to today. Where in the heck do kids get the money for $150 sneakers, $200 boots, $125 pullovers, $500 smart phones, $200 noise canceling headphones, designer sportswear, expensive concert tickets, trips to the mall, restaurant meals with friends, mani-pedis, salon hair, nice cars, hoverboards, and everything else they manage to have. They have big screen HD TV’s in their bedrooms hooked up to ultra video game systems, wifi streaming from Netflix and Hulu, personal laptops for homework and everything else that can be done on a computer.

I believe if all this stuff had been available when I was a kid, I would still be the girl in the hand-me-down dress with the fried hair polishing my own nails. I can’t imagine my parents having given any priority to a list of wants. There were two categories- necessity and luxury. We would discuss and negotiate the necessities and never even consider the possibility of the luxuries. It’s not because we were necessarily poor, but because we were frugal and not having spoiled children was an aspired full-time goal of our parents. ‘We need to teach these kids the value of a dollar’ mentality.

I marvel at the difference in lifestyles from the 50’s-60’s to the 00’s-10’s. It’s an amazing difference of not just what they have but the expense and availability. How are they getting all this stuff? Where is all the money coming from? I don’t know, but I know a grandkid who needs a new Vera Bradley tote for their Florida trip in a few weeks. Hmmmmm…I think it’s suddenly starting to become a little more clear… Sandy

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