Home > Uncategorized > No luxuries left to lose

No luxuries left to lose

I was once at a press junket with a bunch of travel writers and we got onto our least favorite words and phrases, especially those used by p.r. writers. You could tell who wrote for what market by which phrases they hated most.

I was the New England travel writer. I hated “quaint” and “picturesque.” The Caribbean writer hated “lush,” the European writer hated “historic,” and so on. But there were some we could all agree on. “Most unique,” was a gimme, for instance. And “spectacular.”

These days I think the phrase I hate the most is “during times like these” or it’s many variants. Those got completely overused in the post-9/11 media orgy and now that we’re wallowing in a recession the copywriters have brushed them off and I hear or read them about fifteen times a day and if I didn’t abstain, I’d start a drinking game.

But what I hate the very most are the stupid stories about how the recession is affecting certain sectors. The Lipstick Level or the Clown Crunch or the big boom in tailors and cobblers.

I get so frustrated at these stories because I have very little left to cut. I’ve taken my shoes to get resoled for years. I usually only own three pair of jeans at any given time, one of which has holes in. I don’t take my clothes to a tailor to get fixed… I do it myself. I don’t wear any makeup, so cutting from $220 lipstick to $10 isn’t an option. My computer that just died was 8 years old (ish) and my laptop is six. I consider any child’s party that involves hired entertainment to be sheer silly waste.

What luxuries do we have? I can think of four:

1. Books. We buy lots of books. Fewer than we used to — thank god for libraries — but we still have books.

2. Good food. I buy (and cook) good organic food. I’m not sure that this is a luxury — I’d cut a lot of things before I cut that — but I can imagine someone looking at my food budget would point out that I spend an awful lot for a dozen eggs. And though we eat out a lot less than most, but we do still eat out more often than we probably should.

3. The Child’s preschool. It’s expensive. I need to take the car out and waste gas on the trip. But it’s the only greenery she gets and I think that’s vital to a child’s healthy development.

4. Starbucks. I can’t consider this food, per se, but I get my tea (Grande Rooibos Red Bush, two bags, lots of room for milk) at ‘Bux and the Husband gets his chai or chocolate there on the weekends. It’s where I meet friends to hang out and chat, while The Child drinks her milk (kid’s 110 whole milk steamer). It’s a nontrivial amount of cash.

But when I read about how people are suffering so much that they have to cut out their manicures, god forbid!, I get cranky. Getting weekly manicures is the sort of excessive spending that put us in this position in the first frigging place. And can’t the media write about that?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    cut out manicures? when i was poor (and i mean foodstamp poor!) i’d walk because we couldn’t afford the bus.
    although i will say, manicurists have to make a living too. i have a client, she owns a hair salon (average cut is $20) who has seen her revenues drop by 20% in the last 6 months…

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