yuppie materialism

30 November 2002

Cyn and I spent today at Bed, Bath & Beyond in pursuit of Things To Make Our Lives Easier. It's truly amazing what you can find there. I mean, I saw at least fifteen things I didn't know I couldn't live without until that identical moment. I could pretty much have gone through and raked everything bearing the brand name "Oxo" off the shelves with a sweep of my arm into the buggy and been perfectly content. Fortunately I didn't have my debit card with me or I might have made a serious dent in my November paycheck. As it was, we ended up buying some small kitchen stuff (imagine that) and scoped out some hideously expensive and totally unnecessary kitchen appliances, the huge Cuisinart food processor being chief among them. We did eventually manage to restrain ourselves and got out with our kitchen gadgets and only one set of the fluffy white bar towels that were on sale, instead of half a dozen.

I always feel so dirty after hitting the sales at these "upscale" chains. It really puts a crimp in my attempts to be all Zen and minimalistic. I am compelled to admit this to you all, even though I'm ashamed of myself, so let me just go ahead and get this off my chest:

Yuppie stores are my secret shame.

Yes, it's true: I shop at yuppie stores. I cruise J. Crew. I putter in the Pottery Barn. I bask at Bath & Body Works. I love them all, and it's just sad and shameful. For Christ's sweet sake, I was raised a country girl. It was a big day in my hometown when Wal-Mart opened up. Even now that I've gone off to the big city to make my fortune, my fortune wouldn't be enough to let me shop at Lord & Taylor even if they did carry clothes that fit me. From whence doth this urge to be a yuppie assimilationist fuck arise? I do not know.

If you ever want to feel like an overprivileged asshole American, go shopping at the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver and follow it up by an overpriced meal at the Canyon Cafe or somewhere like that. Stopping off at the Tattered Cover bookstore afterward, our local independent bookseller, does nothing to assuage my guilt over patronizing planet-killing franchises who probably produce half their inventories in Asian sweatshops. It's terrible. I can't figure out why I love these places so much. I don't really desire the brand names; it doesn't matter to me if my shirt has "Eddie Bauer" on the tag. The only brand that means shit to me is Levi, and that's because the only pants I wear, if I can possibly help it, are Levi 501 jeans. The food at yuppie restaurants is decent, but Cyn makes stuff at home that's just as good if not better. So it's not brand recognition.

(Hell, I consider myself to be sort of non-mainstream kind of girl, which is why my recent prediliction for this whole "business casual" type of lifestyle is so repulsive. In a universe only a couple of stops over from ours, I'm the kid on the corner smoking a clove, wearing lots of black thift store clothing, saving my coffee-jerk paycheck for piercings and tattoos. In our universe, however, I ended up going from being an art major living paycheck to paycheck to being just another high-tech, khaki-wearing clone in the space of three short years. Eeesh.)

Maybe it's because I grew up po' (in the South, that's one step down from "poor") and so did my ex-husband. When we were together, we were both making way too much money for doing too little work; consequently, we got into the habit of shopping at Williams-Sonoma instead of K-Mart and spending a lot of cash there. A lot. A lot a lot. It took several dings on my credit report and four months of unemployment to break me of that habit, and sometimes I still fall back into it.

Maybe shopping at yuppie stores represent prosperity to me. I bet that's it. Hell, in this economy, with that retarded monkey at the helm, we need all the illusion of prosperity we can get.

Okay, I guess that's all right. It's a delusion, but at least it's one I perpetuate upon myself (and I can quit any time I want, really I can). I can go hang out at BB&B without scads of guilt now. I just can't spend any more money there.

...

Damn. I really wanted that Cuisinart.