The other day I took Zoe to the local Hobbycraft so she could choose a delicious and chewy glue gun for her Easter present. Nom. It was while we were wandering around the aisles that I was reminded about materialism and the satisfaction of surrounding ourselves with useless tat.
One of the aisle displays contained parts to make your Hornby railway set complete. As well as trains, carriages and track there were little plastic men, shrubbery and model things. These you might buy to make your little network of trains look like a piece of English countryside harking back to the bygone age of steam and rail.
What struck me first was “How ace would it be to have a railway set with all these little men and things dotted about the place? I could have my very own pre-Beeching world with stops, junctions and level crossings.”
And then I looked at the price. The price for 5 little plastic men no bigger than the toenail on your middle toe was a shocking….£8. £8 for 5 tiny bits of anthropomorphic plastic. I looked at the packs of tunnel portals; £20. The starter packs were about £80. “Blimey!” said I and as I said it, and the people in the aisle flashed me confused glares the thoughts of my passing raced through my head.
It was, ultimately, all shite. If I invested my money in such a scheme, upon my passing, they would no doubt be separated, given away or sold for a fraction of the price I paid for them. My corpse festering in a box somewhere while my worldly possessions divvied up into “Charity shop”, “Skip”, “Sell” and “Give away” piles.
Now I can understand spending your hard earned cash on something that will accumulate value like antiques, gold or stocks. I might even understand buying things that retain their value, but most of the time we are presented with useless tat to spend our money on, which in turn, makes the economy flourish.
Or so we are told.
Then there’s the 99p “fitting” fee for screen wash. Yes, you read that right. 99p for someone who works in Halfords to come out to your car, pop your bonnet, open the cap to the screen wash reservoir and empty the contents into it.
Are people really that stupid? Are there people who, through some bizarre chain of events are unable to open the bonnet to their car and fill up their own reservoir? Do these people have the vote too?
This got me thinking. People + money = no sense. It’s like adorning your house with those fucking god awful stone lions rampant. Do you really think they add value to your home? Is there some people out there that think “Oh you know I’d buy this stately home but it hasn’t got fucking lions rampant on the gate posts” or people that think “You know this place has lions rampant on the gate posts, I think I’ll offer a little bit more money when I’m buying this house.
I doubt it. But I can’t be entirely sure. I mean the evidence is there around us.
I suspect this is why I have no money. I used to be materialistic. I’d want the car, the latest electronic gadgets and a little cork donkey to set off my living room. I’d want the smoked glass divides, the egg cosies, the camping pans and all the other rubbish. But then I broke myself. I now look at things and think: “Hey! Camping pans! Neat! But I could just take my own pans from my kitchen” or “Oooh hey! A pizza wheel would really make my kitchen complete. But then, what’s wrong with a really sharp knife instead?”
The paranoid part of me says the powers that be know that I am now immune to pointless spending and have engineered it so that I can’t get a job that pays a daft salary. Which of course, is daft in itself.
I find that I ask myself “Do I really need this?” with increasing regularity. Ornaments are wasted on me, gadgets are pointless and things like railway sets, hobbies and the like a waste of money.
CDs and DVDs are the same. I no longer rush out to buy the latest release of my favourite film or artist. I simply wait a year or so and buy them off Amazon for a pound or less. I no longer have the desire to rush out and buy the latest thing. Box sets are a waste of money and, if my video cassette collection is anything to go by, as soon as the format changes, the old stuff is worthless and you have to rush out and buy again.
My life free from such waste I should have tons of cash. I check my bank account and see little evidence of this…then…to help numb this realisation I fire up my laptop, sit back in my second hand couch and begin another quest on World of Warcraft. And that, dear reader, is why I am a hypocrite.