Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What is something worth?

Of course I toyed with the idea of writing about the historical moment of today with Obama officially becoming president, but I assume everyone would be writing about that or covering it, so instead I decided to write about something trivial and meaningless: my shopping exploits yesterday.

Value, cost, price

The value and therefore cost of something cannot be measured accurately in a set monetary amount. There is always more -- or less -- to an objects worth. Be it a blanket I've had since childhood that's kept me warm, only selling for perhaps a few dollars at a store yet worth a small fortune to me personally or a leather jacket that I wouldn't pay 10% of the retail price for, the price of something does not decide it's value.

As with most posts on this blog, this seems rather obvious. We all know of sentimental value, the feelings we attach to something, or simply our personal preference for a color or pattern making us pay more for something purely because we like it. These add value to things. Contrariwise, if we don't like something we will remove value from it. This is why we're able to get good deals on things -- they become burdensome and we simply want them out of our lives, often resulting in us giving or throwing them away, despite the value they may still have. The same principle applies to retail stores with clearance items and relationships with hippies.

Angel: note the shirt

This brings me back to the leather jacket. I went shopping yesterday for a few things -- some v-neck white t-shirts and some socks and shirts to match my brown shoes. (Historically I have always worn black shoes and thus everything I have in terms of socks matches them; I'm branching out with brown.) Wandering into Express they had the now-standard "70% off select items" sale going on. While this is a very nice sale as I wouldn't pay $88 for a pair of jeans there -- their value is just not that much to me -- I would pay $26.40 for them. Jeans were not on sale. What was on sale were things from Winter and Christmas, things like sweaters, button-up shirts, and jackets. I was quite happy to be a "small" at this point since the "medium" and "large" racks were quite barren; the "small" was overflowing with goodies. There were several shirts, sweaters and sweater vests down I found that I liked for ~$20, down from ~$60, and three jackets: a short, black, wool jacket for $46, a long, black, wool overcoat for $90, and a brown leather jacket for $60 marked down from $400.

The two wool jackets were quite to my liking and had I recently been paid I would have struggled to not purchase them immediately. The only thing holding me back was that I am currently overrun with jackets.

Kerouac: not me

I have no less than five coats at the moment, perhaps more that I have forgotten about, and all are black, save one. Buying yet another black coat is simply not logical. The brown leather jacket is another story: on paper it is a remarkably good deal and it would also match my shoes and belt very nicely. The style I did not agree with: it had too many pockets and was too Jack Kerouac. I am not a professional writer nor am I on the road. While the retail value of the coat was quite good it was just not worth it to me.

Thus is my story regarding the value of something versus it's retail price. Riveting, I know.

Proud to be American today

As I write this I have the presidential inauguration streaming in a browser. The band is playing what can only be described as the most generic presidential music ever written. It honestly sounds like the soundtrack to a black-and-white era cartoon with Teddy Roosevelt walking down the street and meeting a steel worker. It's so remarkably presidential.

All I will say in regards to today's historical events: I have a smile on my face and I'm proud to be an American today.

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