I just finished reorganizing my CD collection, an onerous task that had people around me questioning my sanity (and for a measly 500ish CDs). I still buy them, but definitely not like I used to. I tend to spend about $120 twice a year when I allow myself to go to a record store (and some of that is used), perhaps another $60 from one-offs I buy through amazon, probably another $60 I spend on iTunes (mostly for videos, though, another collection I can't stop), and then usually about $60 in CDs for my family for xmas. Just over $500? Sheesh, I have a problem. Don't get me started on books....
I spend money on sweaters, I just do. $150 would be miraculously cheap, often $300 is the norm but I've got a couple that push $500. I might have about a dozen at this point, and with the exception of gaining weight and having a couple that are just a little too tight right now, they are all in fantastic condition, minimal pilling, look great year to year, and they last. It's so nice when the temperature finally drops and I am reunited with my old friends. I may buy one a year to further the collection, or I may not. I realize this doesn't help for people who try to be fashionable, but they're classic and they fit my body and I accessorize, and I get plenty of compliments on them. So worth it.
The last time I was at a RadioShack was nearly six years ago when I was in my last apartment. There was one right downstairs, and it was perfect for my impulsive, lazy self. I think I bought I cordless phone there when I moved in (2006, the last time I had a landline and a cell phone), and bought various cords and electronic needs that I probably could have gotten cheaper elsewhere but that required either waiting for it to ship from online or traveling 20+ minutes, so walking outside my door was rather convenient. Then a Best Buy went in down the street in the former Tower Records (I think it was a Tower Records...) space, and I don't even know if that RadioShack is still there now that I have no reason to ever go near it. Since I walked past it nearly every time I came and went from my apartment, I feel like I had a good approximation of their business or lack thereof. It didn't seem quite as dismal as the story above, but I often thought about how it stayed in business at all.
@inthepost LOVE this perspective. I have two, one a long line of words and the other about the size of my palm and full color. The first took maybe an hour, I believe with tip it was $350ish? The second one took longer, two to three hours, but the tattoo artist was a good friend of my good friend, and she was also getting something, and he legit did them for free. I wasn't expecting it to be free, so I ended up giving him maybe $150 in cash that I had on me (I planned to tip in cash but have no idea how I had that much on me, maybe I went to an ATM, I felt like I was on drugs after that one, very floaty, so my memory is fuzzy). I plan to go back to him for another when I hit a couple of life goals. I absolutely love both of mine and I even talk to one (it's an animal, but yeah, I guess I'm weird). I had to get an ultrasound once and that was kinda funny to pull up the robe and have some unknown woman rubbing the thing over it and never mentioning it. And I also forget about them, so when I get naked with someone new it's....interesting, haha
My family started a tradition of traveling for Thanksgiving, partly as an escape from my father's deranged side of the family. We've done the NYC/Macy's parade thing, gone to Charleston, golf resort in florida, destination football game, Ptown relaxation and fun, you name it. Since entering the booze biz/service industry, it's too busy for me to travel and take time off, so now my small family of two comes to see me. It's also interesting to note like others have that people get old, get sick, become incapable to cook or do the old traditions, and die. My father died when I was 17 and everything definitely changed, most definitely a major thing being that tradition can change, and often life forces it do so. I love having my family in town, and last year was the first (and still only, no plans to do it again this year) time that we've cooked (I did the cooking, with sister as sous chef) in nearly two decades. It's a time for us to be together as family, and sometimes that means going out. I also work so many holidays myself, and Thanksgiving is the one I choose to spend with family. I know it sucks for people to not be able to go home, but at the same time we develop our new families in the restaurant world. I've hosted so many Christmas meals for the orphans, and every holiday evening if you go to the right places you'll find all the cooks and bartenders together, celebrating our makeshift families, raising glasses and stuffing our faces. Family is what you make of it, and tradition has to be flexible.
Every week I show my roommate an ad in the Sunday magazine and pretend I'm serious about buying the $50 million penthouse. In all seriousness, you're right - newspapers are driven by ad sales. Even though I adore the nytimes, this is why public news is so integral.
@Markovaa I'm seconding this opinion (along with the good advice from artsypants). I left museums for the wine industry, and while I've dealt with all the insecure feelings of having given up and selling out and not using my degree, I've actually realized how much happier I am in my career path. I read this earlier in the day and my immediate thought was "run!!! run far away!!!" but even with a little time distance I don't feel any different. I adored working in museums, and I put so many hours and so many dollars toward it (grad school, unpaid internships in expensive cities, lackluster pay resulting in credit card debt), but I've found that they only people who "make it" are the ones who were able to sustain that un/underpaid lifestyle for YEARS and then subsist on nothing still, i.e. they are all independently wealthy. I still resent two of my grad school classmates for their jobs because they were able to take $12/hour part-time positions for over THREE YEARS before they even became a full time salaried person, and I just wasn't willing to work in that environment. This was a two different museums in two different cities, far too common a story. Like academia, no one seems to tell people the truth before they go into this. That said, one of my professors made one off-hand comment to me midway through grad school to not "become one of those museum slaves" that work on $25k/year because they either hire trust funders or hedge fund wives, and it took me three more years before I realized how right he was. Last anecdote, another top notch museum friend (we are talking creme de la creme of internships and school and smarts) has been at a university museum for the last six years or so and is practically running the place yet making ~$50k/year. There is no. where. for her to go where she is, and uprooting herself is her only options and that's for such an insignificant amount of money that she's turned down other opportunities, and I know she loves what she does but she's far too young to be hitting the ceiling and I assure you she'll be doing something else before she's 40.
@thirtysum I second this. One can hate the tipping system, but it is the rule of our land and the system we must work with. If tipping is a key factor in how someone, anyone, makes money in a certain job, one should tip appropriately regardless of any additional unrelated factors you may have knowledge of. Would you offer someone a lower salary because you know she has a rich husband or a trust fund, even though both your budget allows it and the job responsibilities dictate a higher rate? Or better yet, would you want an employer to do that to you if you found yourself in that situation?
@nf I've told people for years that I refuse to use that site because of it's poor design, glad to finally see I'm not the only one who notices!
1999 - Freshman in high school, got my first real job bussing tables at the local family restaurant, where we ate probably 3 times a week (including lunch, my mother probably went there 5 - 6 times a week). This both established my need to eat out half the week and work my ass off in order to afford it. 2007 - Midway through grad school in the arts, continued working that winter/spring in high end retail, think I was making around $13/hour, plus free coffees and treats from the delicious cafe next door. I spent the summer in DC on an unpaid internship, sponsored by mom, second year of her also sponsoring adult big city rents, made me want to barf every month writing the check even with the knowledge that the money was transferred over. The fall brought another unpaid internship and two paltry TA stipends, but I was hopeful that my museum gig was going to work out and thought I'd be swimming in it with at $35k job by May (flash forward, that job went poof) 2013 - Finally "getting ahead" in my fallback career, though still feeling stretched beyond my means due to work expenses. Making about $65k, but spending a third of take home on my sales job because my employer and industry sucks and thinks it's ok to force 100% sales commission employees to pay their own way. Started to realize I was spending my own money to fill the coffers of someone else, started to get bitter.