My mom is an interesting type of consumer. She has always believed that one should buy the best one can afford. She’s never been one to spend a great deal of time comparison shopping or hunting for the elusive bargain. To my memory, she has never bought any item just because it was on sale. She buys because she needs it. And she doesn’t have time to waste, so she buys it now.
Growing up, only my dad was working outside the home till I was fifteen, so we were a single-income family. Still, my brother and I lacked for absolutely nothing. We had all the toys we desired (though, granted, perhaps not exactly when we desired them. Delayed gratification was the name of the game in our house, but we still got the stuff we wanted eventually.) and our household had everything that households were supposed to have in the 1960s and 1970s. We had a real vacation every summer, and though sometimes it was simply to the prairies to visit the relatives, sometimes it was a car trip to Disneyland.
When my mom started working, yes, there were extras. There were TV video game consoles (anyone remember Atari? Intellivision?), trips to Hawaii, and fully redecorated rooms. But the quality of things our family acquired then was pretty much the same as it had been before, to my recollection: we still had really good stuff.
I think what my parents did before my mom was working was plan and save and finally purchase those items they wanted. When my mom’s income was added to the mix, I think the “save” part was dropped, and they spent time researching and deciding what to buy, then they simply went out and bought it.
And since money is, thank goodness, still not a worry for my mother, this is what she still does.
This is the woman who went out with my brother one morning six years ago and just bought a new car. She drove it home that afternoon. When she decided to replace her living room furniture also a number of years ago, she basically popped into a local furniture store, walked quickly around, sat on a couple of armchairs and sofas, stood up and announced, “I’ll take this, this, and this. When can they be delivered?” It took her all of about a half-hour to pick out a new stove and a new dishwasher when she bought her condo two years ago – and she only wanted those because the ones already in the condo were “old” and she didn’t feel like cleaning them to bring them up to her high standards of cleanliness. She’d had a built-in vacuum in her old house, so she needed to get a regular vacuum for her condo. How about this Miele, then – chosen in less than ten minutes.
And she has no computer on which to do any prior research!
The woman is quite the shopping marvel. She just figures out what she wants, then goes out and decides quickly. She is a hard act to follow.
But I’m trying. I went to one store on Friday night, and half an hour later, I had bought myself a new fridge. It’s white, with french doors, a bottom freezer drawer, and no external water or ice dispenser. It’s exactly what I wanted.
When I told my mom, I think she was impressed.