"This is a story about us, people, being persuaded to spend money we don't have, on things we don't need, to create impressions that won't last, on people we don't care about."
Anti-Consumerism was a main theme in the movie Fight Club. This scene, where Norman describes his "perfect" apartment, will always be memorable to me (partially edited):
Like so many others, I had become a slave to the Ikea nesting instinct. Like a coffee table in the shape of a yin-yang, I had to have it. The Klipsk personal office unit. The Hovetrekke home exerbike. Or the Ohamshab sofa with the Strinne green stripe pattern. Even the Ryslampa wire lamps of environmentally-friendly unbleached paper.
I'd flip through catalogues and wonder "What kind of dining set defines me as a person?"
I had it all. Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof that they were crafted by the honest, hard-working, indigenous peoples of...
At some point spending money now is going to be more fun than spending 10x that much money when your in your late 50's. So, yes plenty of high income people buy nice things, but even if I had invested every cent I had ever revived I would not be a millionaire because I am still to young.
It's different from other cars I've driven like Macs are different from the windows boxes I've used.
Actually, if I had the time and space for the auto repair hobby, I'd probably get another BMW and maintain it myself; The things aren't any harder to work on than a regular car. You do take a reliability hit, but eh, I could probably live with that. The parts are more expensive, but after market parts are a small fraction of the cost of dealer parts (or what a garage will charge you for parts,) so if you look around for deals, you don't end up paying that much more.
(the auto repair hobby has a lot to recommend itself; It's an easy $90/hr post-tax for doing something that is not very stressful at all.)
Still, in a situation where you are paying someone else to maintain the thing, if you aren't willing or able to pay for a new BMW, (which comes with free maintenance for a period) you probably should also avoid a used BMW. too. This is why used 7 series bmws go for so little.
I don't think I ever got the BMW out of the shop for under a grand. Part of that is the BMW has excellent breaks, and excellent breaks wear faster than mediocre breaks. (apparently the metal dust coming off the pads and rotors are actually an important way to vent heat.) and for some reason, replacing the pads and rotors on a bmw was north of a grand by itself. (It was $250 in parts to do it yourself, and maybe two hours of work.) so I think a lot of it is just "oh, he has a bmw, he must have money" Also, well, the BMW reliability just isn't up to the same standards as the Japanese cars, so you'd have little problems that sometimes required a tow.
I knew a guy who said "I like older cars because I can work on them". And he did. Every weekend. I vowed I would purposely never learn how to work on cars so that I would never be tempted get involved in such a tremendous time sink. The worst thing about the hobby is it tends to insert itself exactly when you don't want to do it.
So really, for any given car, if you work on it yourself, you shouldn't be spending much more time than what the shop would charge you for the same work, and, uh, like I said, $90/hr post-tax isn't something most of us sneeze at. (Of course, if you can sneeze at that, good for you!)
that said, right now I'm taking my vehicle to a professional. the thing is, sure, the car only needs something once every 6 months, if you don't count oil changes (which I usually take in, just 'cause it's worth twenty bucks to not deal with the oil) - the thing is, where I am now, maintaining a garage would cost me more than just paying to take my car in. So yeah, it doesn't always make sense.
I'll probably need to replace the brake pads myself after the warranty runs out, but for another few years, maintenance is supposedly comped.
It's different from other cars I've driven
like Macs are different from the windows
boxes I've used.
The hardware is top notch tho.
The other thing is that on Mac if I install a new program I don't feel like I've just taken N number of months of the life of the OS install (Linux is even better here).
Basically, I'm older now and I don't have time to use a computer for anything other than what I have it for. Every second I have to spend doing administration is a wasted second.
BTW, if you've never driven a BMW, test-drive one. They drive like nothing else in this world.
It's funny but you even have to consider this with consumables like toilet paper. If you get the cheap stuff it's practically half-ply so you have to use 3 times as much. Better to get the 3-ply that costs twice as much.
I answered your BMW comment here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1779306
"The things that you own end up owning you."
It's a brutal cycle — the weddings featured in magazines and online are almost always out of the average couples budget, and what those stories do is create the idea of "this is what you should have". Couples then concern themselves with having the best card boxes, the perfect playlist, hand making favors that will be thrown out the next day by the majority of their guests, because this is what they're told is the right way of throwing a wedding. A one day event that people spend way too much money on because they're persuaded to by this industry.
Weddings and funerals are businesses with huge markups. There is a lot of emotional attachment involved in both, and people will be willing to shell out enormous amounts of money on such events.
Did you know they sell decorative boxes to be cremated in? Nevermind you're never going to see the box, nor will the deceased care which box they're in, all it's going to do is _burn_ but the funeral people are all, "what, you'd burn your father in a cardboard box? How horrible."
Somebody posted a write-up not to long ago. 1000memories, I believe.
Then again, maybe attending another person's wedding is the actual favour. After all, it usually costs a lot of money to attend a wedding, too.
It'd be nice to think that this was intended and took as a spoof of the conspicuous consumption that big weddings are, but I suspect that, considering the target audience, there was a lot of nodding all around.
But the part friends & family still talk about years later is, "Hey, remember when your German Shepherd was your ring-bearer at your wedding, and you sent her running down the aisle? That was great!"
Doesn't take money to be entertaining.
Also, as I said elsewhere in this thread, what a woman might say in theory or outside of planning mode is often quite different to how they'll act once things get real.
(Recently married for the second time, FWIW.)
Which is probably why so many marriages end in divorce. If she's not mature enough to know the real purpose of a wedding and thinks it's about having her day to show off to her friends, then she's just not mature enough and she's selfish.
Catch her the second or third time around and see if she hasn't smartened up a bit and if the man's point of view doesn't carry more weight now.
> Recently married for the second time, FWIW.
Good luck with that!
As several folks told my wife and I, "the marriage is more important than the wedding." Our wedding was wonderful, but simple and cheap - I think about $3,000 (with lots of help from friends). But from the start - from dating to pre-marital counseling to continued investment in our relationship - we've been focused on our marriage itself.
... And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today.
Interesting chain of "inspiration" :)