Coded green.

Wednesday 27 September 2000

Vaccuum cleaner

Pic of the day: The working class hero of the home, my new vaccuum cleaner.

A new sucker

Yes, I eventually (after years and years) went out and bought a real vaccuum cleaner!

I had one already - I had bought it cheap on a flea market. Sadly, it turned out to be pathetically weak and quite simply not doing its job. So I've been washing the floors instead for these 20+ years. (Of course, I never threw away the deficient vaccuum cleaner. I guess I should put it in a dumpster, so another male can come and take it home.)

Washing does the trick. But vaccuuming is so much more manly! And fun, fun, fun.


I have commented in the past on this: We buy so many time-saving appliances that we have to work overtime to pay for them all. And buying it all at once, as people tend to do, makes it all worse.

Yesterday I read a web-based discussion board here in Norway. I don't usually do that, as it tends to attract tabloid readers. The not so silent majority who don't know what they're talking about, but don't know that they don't know. (Needless to say, this type of people tend to be males. Hey, I was born this way...) In this case they were discussing the recent increase in interest rates, that's why I was reading.

Unsurprisingly, the Lowest Common Denominator did not like paying so much interest. They wringed their virtual hands in despair on the unreasonable burden put on them. At the same time, it was all too evident that these were not exactly proletars. I was so tempted to write and taunt them. If you can't afford it, don't buy it! Or as a wise man said (not sure if it was me originally): "When a common man lives like a rich man, he becomes a poor man."


As I may have mentioned, I see that there is a generation trap where young people are forced to borrow money if they want to participate in society as individuals. They need an education, they need somewhere to live. Some can live with their mother, but even so that hardly counts as "participate" or "individual". Living in the kid room when you're 30 is not really an option. People need quite a bit of stuff just to start out on their own.

But there are still differences. Do you really need that much room, that expensive car, do you really need eating out on workdays? There is a culture of greed, so moderate and so pervasive that the greedy don't have a clue that they are greedy at all. Rather they see themselves as poor martyrs. And I'm not unfamiliar with this myself. It is a journey of discovery to start thinking "do I really need this"?

Which brings me back to today's main event in the Chaos Node, namely the vaccuum cleaner. Do I really need it? No, obviously not. I just spent a couple decades without. (I guess that says a lot about me, actually. Probably more than a month of long-winded journals. "This guy spent two decades without a working vaccuum cleaner??" Well, yeah. All my adult life so far.)

One thing that has changed over the last year is that my economy seems to fall into order. I am ajour with my bills. I used to not even know what bills I had got and which I had paid, much less which were waiting in the wings. Now I have a pretty good overview of the ordinary stuff. I pay on time - actually, I pay well before due date. I still don't trust myself quite with the feeling of having money. Years of being me has taught me that I am all too likely to come up with some new desire if there is money to burn on it. So I rather spend it on pre-paying bills or buying something vaguely useful.


Tying the threads together, there is one more small fact. If you buy all your stuff at once, you have to borrow to buy it. With unsecured credit (like credit cards or sales credit) the cost can easily become formidable. It's not hard to end up paying twice as much as the price tag said, if you take your sweet time paying. The credit companies are relying on you being weak-willed or just plain dumb. For instance, I have a Mastercard that offers me 45 days interest-free credit. That means I have one or two paydays to pay back, which I can easily do with any minor acquisition. I have no idea what the credit card company gets from the deal - perhaps the shops pay them some small fee. I think I've heard about that. But mainly, they rely on you wanting more than you can afford. If you keep hovering near the credit limit, they can milk you like a cash cow, and there's not a thing you can do about it.

They say there's a new sucker born every minute...

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago

Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.

I welcome e-mail:
Back to my home page.