In which I’m not judging

30003-8.jpg… well, okay, I probably am.  But I’m really trying not to judge.  Especially since the thing I’m being judgy about directly benefits me.  So take this post with as much salt as you feel necessary.  I probably shouldn’t even be writing it.

(He said, before continuing to write.)

This was a slow week at work.  I was closing about the same number of sales as anyone else, but for whatever reason it seemed like most of my sales ended up for low-dollar items and not anything really worth writing home about.  When I make 5% commission on sales I can’t get too excited about selling a $200 bed to somebody, right?  And the couple of bigger opportunities I had this week I wasn’t able to close for one reason or another.  I walked into work today needing a great day in order to end up with an average week.

And, well, I got it, ending the day with a sale that ended up being damn near seven thousand dollars after taxes and delivery– my current high-water mark for a single sale.  It was a mother and daughter, a random walk-in off the street, and they were setting up her new apartment for when she starts college. She literally got new stuff for every room of the house; a living room set, a bedroom set, a dining table and chairs, some chairs for the bar, the works.  And then as I’m going over everything with them to make sure I didn’t miss anything, Mom says “Oh, did we buy you a desk?”  And we hadn’t, so we went and looked at desks.

And this 19-year-old kid picks out a thousand dollar executive desk.  And for some reason that  was the detail that had me questioning the sanity of the entire endeavor.  You know this kid’s gonna move, like, five times in the next eight years, right?  Do you really want to be dropping this kind of cash on a houseful of Grown Person Shit so that she and her friends can fornicate and puke on it for the next four years?  How many times do you want to move that heavy-assed executive desk?  A king-size storage bed?  For a 19-year-old?

And then Mom drops $5000 in cash on my desk in front of me and writes a check for the remainder, and it hit me: I’m looking at this all wrong, because these people clearly have so much goddamn money that it doesn’t matter if she wrecks it.  She can leave that shit in the apartment and just move and they can afford to completely re-outfit her in her next place.  They’ve got money like that.  It doesn’t matter.

I suspect, what with Notre Dame starting back up in the next couple of weeks, that this is not going to be the last time I experience this.  And, as someone who just made something like $315 for like twenty minutes of not-very-hard work for these (it should be pointed out, very nice*) people, it’s not like I have a lot of room to complain.  But… damn.  Some of these folks just do not live like me, y’know?

(*) Mom, after the “do you need a desk?” moment, actually looked at me and apologized for “being such pains in the ass.”  I looked her straight in the eye and told her that at the amount she was spending I was willing to put up with about fifteen times as much pain in the ass before it became a problem, and I wasn’t kidding.

3 thoughts on “In which I’m not judging

  1. Can you even imagine? I get stressed out dropping more that $60 a week on groceries. I felt it was a really good sign that when the mirror I bought last week fell off the wall and broke, I was actually able to say, “Oh, well, good thing it was only five dollars…”

    So I’ll be over here envy-sighing. And then reminding myself that if I get back to work, maybe I can get there some day. Maybe…

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  2. Interesting reading. This problem is faced by the newly acquired richness of all Indian in India .. All Indian children feel much more protected that they completely loose the value of money .. May god help the coming generations … of mobiles, cars or motorcycles. Thank god the menace does not extend to GUNS …

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  3. I think it’s just the dissonance of the whole event that’s … weird.

    I’ve been fairly steadily increasing income in the past few years from “oh—$15K/year is poverty?” to “OMG—$150K this year?” so I can and do now buy high-quality, expensive things sometimes, and eat at nice restaurants (and am trying to ruin tipping by doing it typically 50%) and make lots of donations and so on. I’m trying to make the best of my fortunate circumstance and skills without becoming (more of) an ass.

    I also live in a college neighborhood and enjoy/despise walking past the post-graduation rentals to see/pick up the stuff these kids throw away. In my opinion, it’s sad to see all the waste—regardless of it’s high quality or not. I mean I get it: they go to Targ-mart and buy a lamp/desk/couch for cheap and when the school year is over, they can’t be bothered to try and find it a new home so off to the curb it goes. I don’t know if there’s a pang of guilt that it’s made in China on the backs of slave labor, or that it’s incredibly wasteful to expend the energy, effort, and natural resources to make something only to have it fill a landfill and threaten ecosystems and clean water and soil …

    But there is that weird feeling when someone has so much money that they can pay living wages for responsibly made merchandise only to treat it as if it were toilet paper. There’s definitely something wrong with this picture—it’s not as if the wealthy person has such skill and value that they could do the work they hire out so trivially that the product would have no intrinsic value. What I mean is there are throwaway activities—writing a grocery list on a scrap of paper—that when we’re done, we think nothing of throwing it away. But to go in a woodshop and make all the parts and assemble a nice wooden chair would be such an effort that one would be thought crazy to use it once then burn it (aside from as an art piece or philosophical experiment … even then …) So to have enough money to buy such a chair and use it in that way seems unconscionably cruel—beyond just unfair-they-have-more-money, but actually abusive.

    Nonetheless, congratulations on the commission. 🙂

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