I recently, had the privilege of hanging out on Knox Avenue in Dallas, and as I sat on a bench in front of Lululemon, looking out at the Range Rovers smashed into parking spots for compact cars, and the Pottery Barn, next to the Pottery Barn Kids, that was next to the Pottery Barn Baby, I saw that I was a full on Mustachian. I was watching people walking their dogs with $100 collars and $100 leashes carrying Apple bags full of the latest gadgets. People drove by in their convertibles, sipping their lattes, with their $200 sunglasses. Purses by Kate Spade, made in China most likely, that ring up at $350 to carry some makeup, a cell phone, and a wallet with only plastic in it. I saw small humans holding hands with their parents wearing Sperry top-siders, and drinking a Starbucks fruit juice.
Sitting in front of Lululemon I did see a glimmer of hope as a young father, with his daughter on his shoulders, walked down the street. He said to his wife, “Hey do you need any $80 tights?,” and they both laughed together as they got into their BMW and drove away. I guess $80 was too cheap for them today. They were probably off to spend $160 on tights someplace else. At this point, I noticed one of the men who worked at Lulu come outside and looked at me sitting on the bench, with my “And 1” Walmart shorts, camo Crocs, and Superman Shirt. I thought I was going to be asked to leave for loitering too long, (Hell, it has been about 10 minutes) but then he walked to the end of the bench and poured an entire bottle of fresh spring water into a dog dish on the ground, that I hadn’t noticed. He then walked away into the store to continue selling those cheap $80 tights. A few minutes later, a lady who was walking her dog on the Katy Trail came by, and her dog drank the water up, as if that was normal behavior. The man then came out and refilled the water bowl with another bottled spring water, giving me the once over to move along. So, I stayed a few minutes longer, just to show him, I move when I want to move, and then wandered down the street for more sights and sounds.
A few blocks away I saw the Apple store!! Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my Apple MacBook Air I am typing on right now, but I got this for free from the school I work at. We all use these for work, and the perk is I can use it all the time too. I don’t own an Apple phone and never will, because I use Republic Wireless and am grandfathered in on the $10 a month plan. I won’t buy an Ipad, because Kindles are more practical for having kids that drop and break things, and forget an Apple watch, when I can wear my 8 year old Timex Ironman I picked up at Walmart for $30. The Apple store was busy that day for whatever reason, and all the geniuses where flying around helping customers. Almost every person who entered the store left with a bag in hand. It is amazing how much they made in profit in one day at one store. I bet every bag had at least $800 worth of stuff in it.
I was only on the street for about 30 minutes total, so my wife could use her gift card from teacher appreciation week from LuluLemon, and it was a circus of consumer fun. The free gift card cost us a whole $17 buying from the sale rack, and it allowed me to see a part of Dallas I just don’t see hardly ever. I understand the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality better from this little trip, and how mad the world has truly gotten with consumerism. It was as if no one thought about how much money they were spending on such meaningless things. I saw a chair at Crate and Barrel for $3,000 and it worked the same as an $8 camp chair (Place ass in the middle and relax). No foot stool or reclining action either. Debt and credit cards are out of control and even the rich aren’t able to get ahead with these types of purchases. No one should be buying any of the items on that street for those ridiculous prices. Walmart has the same stuff for pennies on the dollar and it functions the same. (Don’t try to argue “Quality” either, I know what I said!)
I saw a few good things on the trip such as I saw bike lanes, with no bikes, only a few dog walkers using them, but there where bike lanes in the area. I also, saw a hot dog and custard place holding on to fair prices in this expensive area. It was packed with a nice size lunch crowd too. I did see a smart car, but I assumed it was not to help the environment, but to fit into parking spaces better in the crowded city. So, what is happening around you? Is the whole world crazy with their purchases, or is this just a small pocket of excess I stumbled onto? For now, I’m heading back to my country home where the most expensive items are found at the feed store, and I can hunt and fish for dinner tonight if I choose in my backyard. I think I have it better. As a Mustachian I know my life is good.
*If you haven’t read any of Mr. Money Mustache’s blogs, I highly recommend him. Although my car commute everyday, 17 miles, could be frowned upon, but my happiness levels and conservation efforts else where could make him proud. We are all trying to do better for everyone else out there, and financial independence is a just a tool that you can use to bring joy to those around you creating joy in yourself also.