Monday, February 4, 2013

We Used To Get The Cheapies

"No Mom! Not the Rustler jeans! Can't you at least get me Levi's?"

We never had the good stuff as kids. We had stuff, but it was usually pretty shitty. Side note: I keep saying "we" but i really don't know who I'm talking about other than myself. For that matter I have no idea who I'm talking TO, so if you had shitty stuff as a kid, please raise your hand.

Oh, I see most of us products of the baby boom have our hands up. The Gen Xers. How many of you know why your parents bought you the generic off-brand clothing and the "store brand" food? ....Raise your other hand. If you have both hands up at this point, then I'm sorry you won't be able to scroll anymore.

Your weekly lunch menu:

Mon/Tues: leftovers from Sunday's hot dog dinner
Wed: bologna sandwich and saltine crackers
Thurs: peanut butter sandwich (no jelly) and saltine crackers
Fri: saltine cracker sandwich

Our parents loved saving money. "A penny saved is a penny earned" they used to say. So frugal. Some would say "cheap". But before you continue rattling off adjectives that are synonymous with "tight ass" you should know that they wanted to save money so that they could give it to YOU. See, they were raised with shitty stuff too, only their stuff was someone else's stuff before it was theirs. Double shitty. Their parents, (your grandparents) wouldn't have had any stuff at all if they hadn't made it out of the stuff that someone else didn't want. They would weave together burlap bags with human hair to make sundresses and sport coats. Very itchy, and way shitty. They put shoes on horses but never had any for themselves. I guess they probably tried but nailing metal greek letters to their feet was uncomfortable. They invented croutons so they could have a reason to eat stale bread. Oh, and who could forget the ole "spit in hand/smooth down hair" maneuver?  If they knew what you spend on hairproduct they'd poop in their burplap knickers.

Anyway, as you see, each generation had it a little better than its predecessor. This happened by design. Your parents wanted you to have it better than they did. They grew up watching their parents struggle to make ends meet, to find suitable clothing and food and shelter. They honestly and sincerely hoped and wished that you would grow up and not have to sweat and slave for 18 hours a day in a coal mine or performing in the circus. They didn't want you to have to chase your dinner and then fashion a coat out of its hide.  They hoped you would find a well-paying, safe, secure, desk job so you didn't have to try hard or show up on time. So they saved and saved and saved and bought three pairs of Traxx tennis shoes from Kmart all at once because they were on sale or $3 a pair. Size 7, size 8, size 9. That way you were geared up for the next three years. Then, they banked the $150 they saved so you could go to college one day. After all, college is where you learn to get a desk job and make money, right? Raise your left index toe if you went to college but your parents didn't. See, they wished better for you.  And you thought they were just poor.  Think about it.  Do poor people drink Miller High Life, The Champagne of Beer?  Do poor people drive cars with those fancy spoke wheels?  No, of course not.  Your parents weren't poor, they were withholding. Maybe waiting for you to get your head out of your ass and go to college, or maybe waiting for you to grow up and be able to handle a large inheritance in the $13-$14,000 range. 

Unbeknownst to them at the time, they were setting themselves up for something far worse than circus kids. They unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that would eventually unfold in the resulting terror guessed it.....spoiled grandchildren.

That's right. All that "wanting better" for us worked. We had it better. So, since that worked so well, we took the idea and improved upon it. We still want our kids to have it better than we did, we just removed that parts that suck. We immediately removed the sacrifice of wearing shitty and unpopular clothes. It was obvious that had to go. Only the latest fashions for our heirs. We thought about the whole "saving for college" thing but decided it would be better if our offspring remained at the top of the cool charts by having the most apps on their ipads. Really, what we've done is paid the kids their inheritance up front. That way they aren't burdened with a lump sum when we expire.  Plus, we want to be around to see them invest it all in Monster drinks and twizzlers.

We've taken our parents exit strategy to the next level. We are building a society of children who will make sure that the following generation has it easier than they do. By the time our grand kids are running the show everyone will probably have forgotten how to read and lost the ability survive in direct sunlight. They will spend many hours debating things like the seaworthiness of assorted pebbles,  or the reasons it would be cool to have extra thumbs. In short, they will be ungrateful little pricks with no common sense, just like us.