Where have you lived Julia Lipscomb?
It’s hard to talk about money. It’s also hard to talk about death. And it’s really hard to talk about all the ways money and death seem to tangle themselves together. But since The Billfold was already down with one of these notoriously gnarly subjects, I figured the other might not be such a hard sell.
Hands down, my worst work experience to date was trying to tell someone they have a bad attitude. This someone was my coworker, Ruth, and technically, I was her supervisor even though we were the same age. My boss directed me to give her this feedback during her annual review.
There was no mistaking this captured family of bloodsuckers. Erin and Ben definitely had bed bugs.
We’re Valerie and Katie, the founders of Rice Paper Scissors, a Vietnamese restaurant based in San Francisco.
While everyone agreed in principle that it is generally not desirable to judge people based on their appearance, we diverged on whether judging people based on apparent wealth is as bad as judging them based on, say, race.
So now that you have an idea of my monthly income, let’s look at expenses.
If you’re a New Yorker with a beating heart, you probably remember the subway kittens that shut down the MTA last summer in the most adorable way possible. If you’re a cat lady like me (which oh praise is now a badge of honor, thanks New York Times), then you might already know Steven Liu, the guy behind the Scratching Pad, who took in the tiny bandits and fostered them through their eventual adoption. In July of last year, Steve found a duplex apartment in Bushwick, moved in with two roommates, and started taking in cats—current total eight.
I am in a good place right now: I have a job that can pay my bills, my student loans; I have health insurance; I can afford fancy cheeses when I want to play Russian roulette with my cholesterol. I have a kickass apartment with a washer and dryer, an L-shaped couch, and a working thermostat. It also has a roommate, and she is the best roommate I’ve ever had. She’s funny, she cleans, and she has a puppy. There is only one flaw: her boyfriend.
In January, This American Life aired a segment in which reporter Ben Calhoun went to a few stores and tried asking for a “good guy discount” at the register. Here’s how Calhoun explained it: A friend of his named Sonari Glinton was interviewing a negotiations expert from Columbia University Business school who described a technique where you ask at the register, “Can I get a good guy discount on that? You’re a good guy, I’m a good guy—come on, just, you know, a good guy discount.”
The first dog was named Gucci. As Justin, my trainer (as if I were some kind of dog too!), told it, it was because Gucci’s owner wanted to advertise that she’d spent as much on him as on a designer handbag. Gucci was definitely cuter than a handbag, but a lot less practical. Bernese Mountain dogs are built to survive in the Alps, and a high-elevation Financial District apartment in New York City is hardly the same thing. Coaxing Gucci into the elevator, and keeping him from barking long enough to hustle across the marble lobby and out the service entrance, was an act of sheer will that I tried to muster and brute strength that I certainly lacked.