So I used to write a Rant series on this blog where I’d talk about things that annoy me. Example. In an effort to be more positive, I cut it out. However, sometimes I just can’t help myself. I came across two ridiculous numbers recently…
Everyday Nonsense*: $550 Clothespin
Have you ever had any of the following thoughts?:
- I love setting money on fire!
- I wish I could pay 1000x the normal price for stuff.
- I’ve always wanted to spend $550 on a single clothespin.
Today is your lucky day! I bring you the Tiffany Everyday Objects line.
- Is your dog pretentious and rich too? Here’s a $190 food bowl for him.
- Here’s an ugly clock for $215,000 (!!!).
- I do a lot of reading in the bathroom, so frequently use toilet paper squares as bookmarks. If you’re not trashy like me, you can buy a silver one for $60.
- Do you need a sterling silver ball of yarn? It can be yours for $10,500.
- And here is the $550 clothespin. I’ll sell you my entire bag of clothespins for $100. Hell, I’ll even throw in a couple custom TP bookmarks!
Who buys this stuff? And why?!??
$1,000 Car Payment?!??
If you want to retire early, you only really have to get two things right; housing and cars. If you’re OK living in a modest home and driving geriatric vehicles, you could be well on your way to Financial Independence. It’s not looking good for 15.7% of car buyers:
A $1,000 car payment is nuts. A car is a quickly depreciating thing that will most likely be worth $0 in less than 20 years. And the payment is only part of the deal. If you have a car that costs that much, you’re going to be paying a lot for insurance too. Don’t forget about repairs and maintenance. The truth is that a luxury car isn’t going to be as reliable as a basic Mazda or Toyota and it’s going to cost you waaaaay more to fix.
The key word, the very bad word, the awful word, the word that triggers me; is payments. If you have to pay $1,000 to own a car, you probably shouldn’t own that car. Find one that you can afford to buy with cash or at least one that has a reasonable payment.
On the other hand, if driving a Lamborghini Huracan down the Pacific Coast Highway** is going light up your life and you can just write one massive check to the Lamborghini people, do it! All I ask is that you give me a ride in it.
*Perhaps the joke is on me since I’m providing free advertising for Tiffany!
**I recently met someone who did this very thing. Pretty awesome. He is my hero.
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Amen to all this, That said, re companies that charge stupid high prices for things (Whole Foods is the usual target of my ire, but I may change it to Tiffany after reading this post), I don’t ask, “why are their prices so ridiculously high?!” Rather, I’ve for years asked, “why are their prices so low?!” Because the company’s customers clearly are buying the product BECAUSE of the high price tag. Not IN SPITE of it. So, why not jack the price up even more?
Spend the $1000 bucks to rent a lambo to drive and you can it out of your system for the cost of one car payment. I sat in a Countach at a car show once and it’s not very enjoyable seat or view for me. I rather ride a bike* on the Pacific Coast Highway! 🙂
* a pedal bike would be heroic, for me it will be a motorbike.
I don’t think they sell any of those items. I think they just have them to make their brand seem exotic and to entice people to shop there. Obviously it has the opposite effect on you and me, but Tiffany wasn’t going to get our business in the first place, because, we aren’t idiots.
Just a few hours ago I took my car in for emissions testing. It’s a Hyundai I bought new in ’04 — now with 168k miles, significant unrepaired cosmetic fender damage, and terribly faded paint. The looks of disdain from the testing employees felt like honey coating my soul!
That said, I could be talked into an electric Miata when Mazda finally rolls one out. Bet it’ll claim a similar 0-60 as an ’82 Countach. 😉
Not to be pedantic, but this applies to my work in traffic safety: the 2023 gas Miata, not a particularly fast car, has the same 0-60 at an ’82 Countach at mid-5 seconds (as is a 2023 Accord!). Presumably an electric Miata would be several seconds faster. Typical car, minivan and truck models today are as fast as 90’s/00’s sports cars and 80’s supercars. EVs are both heavier and much faster.
Pedantry encouraged! Yeah, I looked it up afterward — today’s base model stickshift Miata is all the supercar I could ever want. Compared to my current hoopty it’d feel like a rocketship. Maybe I’ll pick one up in seven years as a retirement/50th birthday present.
Bob Reisner says
Based on your net worth, a $1,000 payment is more than reasonable. If you want to take a loan, your choice and no harm. For those on the path to FIRE, really dumb. Just need context.
I do drive expensive cars but cash seems right for me but I’ve seen some interesting cases. One of my kids bought a new car a couple years back, it came with a zero interest option. So why not? He took the loan. My wife liked Toyota Avalons but we switched to Hyundai Genesis in 2009 because the Genesis was a better vehicle at a better price. And Hyundai was giving stupid 3 year leases. Top trim for less than $5k/yr. We did three in a row and bought out the last lease at term because the buy out was silly. Context.
Totally agree with $190 dog bowl.
But when I worked in mega corps, sometimes an item like this was used as a part of informal awards or promotional raffles. Insignificant cost in these cases.
So yes, some stupid people (rich and poor) but sometimes sort of ok.
Bob Reisner says
PS: just saw this example for not using cash…
charlie @ doginvestor.com says
I know people that would buy those things (any “high end” brand). For some reason our brain wants us to be surrounded by products perceived as high in quality. That plus the self esteem boost, community and for some accomplishment.
Would love to turn that part off in most people. But rationalising that quality and luxury are not synonymous is hard and even harder when your social circle has the same belief. Would need to find new friends to completely turn this off.