One of the less fortunate byproducts of consumer culture is advertising. A lot of advertising makes me angry because it is built around people spending money they don’t have for things that they don’t need. I was reminded of an exception today that is worth noting.

I stopped by the bank to deposit a couple of paychecks. The advertising campaign of our bank, which may be familiar to you, is a person holding up a sign outlining something that they want.

Example: A woman in a laundrimat holds up a sign that says “Someday I will have washers for all of my customers.”

Example: A woman in a living room full of boxes holds up a sign that says, “Someday I won’t have to assemble the furniture that I buy.”

I really like these ads for a couple of reasons. First, they are almost uniformly after reasonable things. They’re not talking about fast cars or plasma televisions, they’re talking about expanding their business, making their home a more livable place, or going on a vacation. In fact, I would say the furniture one above was the most questionable of the aspirations.

The second thing is that they usually begin with “Someday…”, which means that they are goals to work towards. I think that impatience is one of the bigger problems that our countrymen have today. We don’t just want it, we want it now.

It’s been well covered that our society is producing a lot of debt. We don’t save and we spend more than I make. The debt that a lot of people I know carry with them is astounding and, student loans aside, largely voluntary. The problem is actually worse for those that were raised in the middle class than those I kn0w in the upper-working class.

A good part of the problem, I believe, is that young people get out of high school and particularly college with a sense of entitlement. They have often had a pretty comfortable life up to that point, and though they haven’t gotten everything they’ve wanted, they at least have a workable (if not desirable) car and a good deal of stuff.

They got all this without actually working for most of it.

But then they get out of school and have a job. For the first time they are earning real money. Naturally, they believe that they are entitled to the lifestyle that they were afforded when they were younger. The logic makes a certain amount of sense. Parents + work = stuff, me + work = stuff. What’s missing from that equation is that the parents usually worked for over twenty years building the kind of career that they could afford to buy the nice car, the nice house, and so on.

But the young people want it immediately. And often are willing to go into debt to get there. It seems backwards to have to work ten years just to get to where you were when you were sixteen!

I am now more grateful for the things my parents did not give me than the things that they did. When I was getting my first apartment, my father cosigned and I was stunned to find out how much he made. Flabbergasted. It was over 50% more than I had thought.

But I didn’t get what I wanted. I had to make tough decisions. I had to delay the purchase of some things and forego the purchase of a lot of things. And, more importantly than that, I saw my parents do the exact same thing. A lot of my peers thought it was unfair that they couldn’t get what Johnny got. I didn’t (as much, anyway, kids will be kids!) because I saw that my parents didn’t get to go out and buy what Mr. and Mrs. Jones did. Now that I know they could have I am all the more impressed.

Category: Market

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2 Responses to Buy Later

  1. logtar says:

    or they can try to sell you a piece of poo that walks.

  2. trumwill says:

    Who doesn’t need that?

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