10 Things I Don’t Get

Aug 17, 2012 by

Question mark

Do you find human behavior confusing?

Printed on my coffee mug is this: “I’m out of the loop and that’s the way I like it.” With that disclaimer I hope insulating me at least a little bit from some of the good natured blowback sure to follow this post, here’s my list of ten money-related things I just do not get:

1.  Humongous chrome bumpers

You’ve seen these: A monster pick-up truck with an absolutely massive chrome cow-catcher attached to the front. I’ve never priced one of these bad boys, but a chunk of shiny metal like that has got to go for thousands. That’s a lot of bling. I can see though—with all the rhinoceri and Democrats roaming America’s streets—where certain types of people could find this apparatus handy.

2.  Single serve home coffee

The rage in home coffee-making is single serve. A marketing genius somewhere deep in Tassimo’s corporate bowels has a newly expanded and remodeled office. A plaque on the wall reads: “Congratulations on tripling per pound coffee revenue!“ Tassimo’s tagline is “The barcode brews it better.” Say what? That’s what I’m paying extra for, a barcode reader posing as a barista?

3.  Hollister California and similar vanity wear

Two hoodies sit side-by-side on a retail shelf, identical in every respect save one: The words “Hollister California” have been emblazoned on one. Somehow this justifies a price double that of a hoodie lacking the two magical words. And people pay the price difference, eagerly. I must go to this place Hollister one day. Evidently I’m missing something worth money.

4.  Facebook

I could write several posts on Facebook’s potential (depending on how you use it) for mind-numbing, human interaction-crushing vapidity. But the essence of a chunk of what I’d have to say about Facebook is captured in this 30-second commercial, so I’ll just leave it at that. (Oh—and would you please like Money Counselor’s Facebook page? 🙂 )

5.  Air fresheners

Have you seen those commercials of the happy housewife gliding around her home squirting every inanimate object from a spray can of odoriferous chemicals? I don’t know about yours, but my home smells fine. Mostly, it doesn’t smell at all, except when I’m cooking. That’s why God invented exhaust fans. If my home were to stink a little, I’d open a window, for free. I don’t get why anyone would pay money for the opportunity to distribute smelly chemicals throughout the place where they and their children and their pets live, eat, and sleep. Or how about those gizmos that plug-in and emit a chemical stew around the clock? Yeah, that’s something for which I’d like to pay money! And you can get one for your car too. Soon I’m sure P&G will come out with a nose and mouth-covering mask that fills constantly with toxins that smell like pine. It’ll save consumers the trouble of hiking in a real pine forest. Then you can choose never to breathe fresh air, if you’d like. And it’ll cost you only $14.99 for the privilege!

6.  Drive thrus

Obese consumers with maxed credit cards and underwater mortgages idle for ten minutes burning expensive gasoline on a planet about to go down in greenhouse gas flames to purchase overpriced 2,500 calorie food-like substances while the slop peddler’s serving counter indoors lies dormant. Are you also confused by this common scene?

7.  Soda pop

How did Coca-Cola become a multinational mega-company pitching a costly product with no redeeming value whatsoever?

8.  Slot machines

I like some gambling games. Along with several friends, I went through a years-long phase of applying myself diligently to blackjack card counting. Though I’m not nearly as accomplished at it, I enjoy craps too. And handicapping thoroughbreds has been a lifelong avocation. Some of the most fun nights of my life have been spent sitting around a low minimum blackjack table in downtown Las Vegas whooping it up with five buddies or gathering with good friends for a friendly poker game. But I digress.

What is the appeal of slots? I don’t see the fun of pumping coins into a machine, alone, watching fake wheels spin, until achieving the inevitable and excruciatingly dull 5% loss. Unlike blackjack, craps, poker, and the horses, slots not only require zero skill, knowledge, or interaction with other humans, none is even possible!  I know—some people believe they have the talent to sniff out a “hot” machine. Ah-huh. And for $5 I’ll sell you today’s “hot” lottery numbers. (Did you know there are actually systems for picking lottery numbers? I don’t want to link to any, but just search “how to pick lottery numbers.” You’ll be astounded.)

9.  Video games

This will likely offend the remaining few of you not yet offended, but except for watching political commercials for hours on end, I truly I cannot conceive of a more worthless way to spend time and money than “gaming” (slots are a contender, however). Yet people spend thousands—in hours and dollars—on game machines and games. People camp out all night on retailers’ doorsteps to be the first to buy the latest whiz-bang game or game machine. Why do people prefer to sit in front of a screen playing NBA LIVE 10 (which costs $60 new), swilling Coke and sniffing chemicals resembling pine from a mask, when instead, after investing in a ball, they could for free actually play real basketball with real, live friends outdoors at a nearby playground or watch a game on television with real live NBA players? There’s obviously something huge going on here that I don’t get, at all.

10. Lawn ornaments

lawn ornaments

I think I needn’t expand on this one.
















Thanks for your help and patience.


photo of question mark sign by Colin_K on Flickr.

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