The London Review of Books started coming to my apartment for no reason and for no money, so I shall continue to read it, but I will say that having started reading it recently with no particular sense of what it was like, it is the WHITEST, MALEST thing ever. Like, it is really striking. I would feel obligated to boycott except that I don't pay for it.
Did someone forget to mark this "sponsored"? What is this shit?
@Adam Speaking as someone who lives in New York City (where the author lives) our options are quite a bit different. Even if you chose to own a car here (which, with a parking garage around $300 a month is an extremely expensive proposition) you wouldn't use it to commute, except in a few cases of reverse commuting to NJ or Long Island. An unlimited monthly Metrocard costs $120 and that is the longest-term option; there is no annual. The cost is justified if you use it twice per day. An annual Citibike membership is $100, assuming you both live and work near a Citibike station. There is a huge aftermarket in bikes here, but I am with Mr. Benson on this one: biking in the greatest city in the world is not for everyone. I found that the health and cost benefits were deeply impacted by a) confronting death every morning before work riding up 6th Avenue (and that was IN A BIKE LANE) and b) having my bike stolen once, backed over by a truck once (bending the front wheel and requiring an expensive cab ride home plus the cost of replacement) and scraping my leg until it bled every day after I started carrying it into my apartment so it wouldn't get stolen again. Some buildings here have bike storage; that is usually also not free. Or, you can run/walk. Which I did for years when my commute was a 30 minute walk; it's now about an hour-long walk. I might try again, but how the hell do you make the logistics of getting dressed for work make sense? I am a woman; I need to pack heels and delicate fabrics and if my hair gets sweaty, it will not just dry right away. Do you run with a backpack? Where do you shower? For now, I'm sticking with the gym membership and the monthly Metrocard but it is killing me after years of not paying for one.
I will say, I do not understand people who do not answer blocked or unfamiliar numbers out of some sense of principle. The annoyance I feel at encountering a robocaller telling me I've won a cruise (and that happens a lot) is so FAR, FAR outweighed by the times I have a) found out that there were unauthorized charges on my card b) found out that my roommate was mugged while out (this was before she got home; I was the last number she'd called and the police had arrested the people who attacked her and found her phone) c) found out that my brother was in the hospital (I was his emergency contact) that I will never not pick up. Your friends and family are NOT the people you need to worry about. If they need to reach you, they probably have multiple ways to do it. The really important calls will come from a number you don't know, and they will not send you a text afterwards to tell you "this is important, please pick up."
@stuffisthings Main difference/key irony being that rich, famous celebrities mostly don't pay for those bags, because they're sent them for free due to their status.
Honestly, I can understand taking a tax refund to buy a $2,500 bag a lot more than I can understand taking a monthly welfare check and blowing it at Foot Locker, since I can't imagine a welfare check finances a shopping spree at Barneys. Using a tax windfall to make a one-time purchase is totally justifiable--you didn't need that money to live, it was yours all along (in the form of withheld dollars from your paycheck), so who cares how you spend it? Whereas taking government assistance to get your nails done just rankles. And frankly, I don't think they're subject to the same logic. There's nothing about a pair of expensive sneakers or a fancy manicure that provide the kind of signaling to people in power that Tressie McMillan Cottom is talking about--quite the opposite, in fact. If anything, it's the kind of logic you apply to a homeless person buying beer when they should probably be buying food: if they're miserable and it's too little money to change their circumstances, they might as well experience some short-term happiness. While that stupid thing may not be simple, that doesn't mean it isn't stupid.
I keep books that are personally significant to me and want to keep in my possession/on display. Other than that, on the rare occasion that I buy books, I try to give them away IMMEDIATELY after finishing them. I'm a big user of my local library, which in a way mimics how I grew up--my parents would always buy me books when that was the only present I wanted, but for general, everyday reading we were supposed to go to the library. I never feel guilty about buying books, but seriously, you can read them FOR FREE, so why wouldn't you? And you get the same lovely browsing effect you do in a bookstore, where what you come in for isn't necessarily what you leave with.
@Amanda T I love Glocap! Worked with them off and on for years. Also, if you're cool with kids, you would not BELIEVE what people pay for sitters in NYC--$15-$20/hour is the norm, and it's usually under the table. If you meet anyone who seems remotely of an age to have had children, it's worth mentioning that you babysit. Not a long-term plan, but good for cash in your pocket. Also, not to be a mom but...do keep your eye on the prize when it comes to finding a full-time job as soon as possible, even if it's not the absolute perfect thing. Temping is such a trap, and I've seen it happen to so many bright people; they spend all this time doing absolute shit work and miss an opportunity to develop the skills that help you move to exactly the kind of mid-level jobs you say you want. You're so much more desirable to companies when you have a full-time gig; make sure you're making use of headhunters and every option you can right off the bat.
I don't know what kind of neighborhood you live in, but there's an Amazon locker right in the grocery store I go to, and I've had packages delivered there. I also will often opt for in-store pickup, at Bed Bath & Beyond or other big retailers, it's often free and there's no chance of it getting lost.
@Anonymous1330 I loathe the person who Air BnB's in our building and if they were ever around I would like to lock them in a closet filled with all the accumulated cigarette butts that their Eurotrash visitors have left outside my door until they suffocated. So. Maybe some people get dinner with your guests. Maybe some people hate your guts!