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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sorry, I'd Rather Not Speak Dollar Sign!

One of my favourite classes to take in school was film studies class.  Imagine going to a class to watch a whole bunch of movies for free and having discussions about all of them...and getting class credit for it! 

Mind you, we also had to film our own video projects as well as put together presentations for the class as well.  But let's face it.  Watching "Jurassic Park" and "Star Wars" in class was definitely the highlight of any school day!

Of course, we didn't just watch summer blockbusters in class.  That would be too much, even for the most lenient of professors or teachers.  We watched a wide variety of films in class.  We watched foreign films such as "Run Lola Run" and "The Seventh Seal".  We watched Canadian made films such as "Exotica" and "The Sweet Hereafter".  In one case, I do believe that in one of my college film classes, we watched a film that could be best described as soft core pornography.  But, yeah, we won't be talking about that film in here.  I'm trying to keep this blog "PG" rated.

That said, one of the films that I remember watching was the 1972 film "Cabaret", which starred Joel Grey, Michael York, and Liza Minnelli.  It was a film that was based on the Broadway musical of the same name, and it won eight Academy Awards - none of which were for Best Picture, might I add!  It was a great film, though, and the musical performances by the whole cast were very well done.

But looking back at that film, while all of the songs definitely had their impact on the movie, I think that this duet between Minnelli and Grey probably had the most impact on me.

Sadly, this prophecy seemingly has come true.  Money makes the world go round.

And as a self confessed non-materialistic man, I can't say that I like it.  Unfortunately, there's no going back from it.  Well, unless we abandon money altogether and go right back to trading spices and fruits and vegetables for goods and services, which admittedly would not fly in 2015.

It isn't because I am anti-capitalism.  Far from it. 

I think the reason why I get so jaded when it comes to money is seeing how it has taken over so many people's lives, and more importantly, how wasteful some people are with it.

Granted, working at a retail chain in which the phrase "save money, live better" is drilled into your head at every waking moment is probably not helping change my stance anytime soon, but I sometimes get a little bit ticked off when you hear people having conversations and they can't go five seconds without mentioning a particular word or phrase that is linked to money.  Phrases like "count your pennies", or "I'm not paying that amount of money for that".  I would like to live in a world where I don't speak "dollar sign".  I would love to have a conversation with someone else in which money is not the main focus. 

I also think that when it comes to saving money, some people seem to grasp this concept very well, while others miss the mark completely.  Somehow, I don't really see buying 75 boxes of Kraft Dinner to save twenty-six dollars as being all that great of a deal unless you really love Kraft Dinner.  Personally, I couldn't stomach eating Kraft Dinner for even one meal, let alone seventy-five, but that's just my personal preference.  And don't even get me started on those extreme couponers.  I'm relieved that we don't really have that phenomenon in Canada as double and triple coupons are not honoured here because I have seen people go out of control with the coupons.

Granted, getting a thousand dollars worth of groceries for $1.89 is a fantastic achievement, but my heart absolutely goes out to the poor cashier who has to ring through every single item and then punch in every single coupon that corresponds with said item.  I thought we had it bad with ad matching, but those extreme coupon people really take it over the top!

In fact, while one can argue that the people who are extreme couponers save a truckload of money by purchasing items in bulk, one could also argue that they are being somewhat greedy.  You see, I know how retail works, having been in the business for a decade now.  It is not always easy to refill the store shelves quickly.  Many stores like mine rely on outside warehouses to ship the product to our stores, and if an item is out of stock in the warehouse, then we cannot replenish the item.  So, if you're buying fifty bars of soap to save money, what are the other people who legitimately only need to buy one or two bars supposed to do?  Go to another store?  Or wait until more comes in?  I mean, some people take the quest to save money so far that it almost makes it seem like they are out for themselves and don't really care about anybody else.

Mind you, I am not saying that ALL people are like this.  I imagine quite a few people donate some of the stuff they bought to local food banks or homeless shelters, and that is fantastic!

But it just maddens me that so many people seem to be showing such gluttony and levels of greed in this world.  It seems as though "Please" and "Thank You" have been replaced with cries of "I Want" and "Gimme Gimme Gimme".  I think that's why I'm jaded about money.

Though, given that people have lied, cheated, and stolen on shows like "Survivor", "Big Brother", and the deliciously named train wreck of a show called "I Love Money" for a million bucks, I suppose that it's not hard for anyone to feel that way.

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, Smiths, Rockefellers, or Kardashians.  I don't need to live in a sixty-seven room mansion with golden staircases and a marble fountain in every hallway.  I long to live for the simple things in life.  I don't need much money to make me happy.  Just enough so that I can live a nice, quiet life.  Besides, look around at the people who are supposedly very rich in money.  Do any of them really look all that happy to you?  Just think about it for a second.

I guess if I had to look at myself and compare myself to a minor pop culture character, I would be like the guy who tries to romance Madonna in the "Material Girl" video.  Though Madonna sings about wanting to be with a man who showers her with riches, all she really wants is a man who doesn't try to impress her with expensive gifts.  So, he takes her out on a date in an old beat-up truck.  Unfortunately, he ends up paying for the truck with a fist full of cash making the whole video one big show of irony.  Proving that even the simplest dreams require a dollar sign or two to make happen.

But least he didn't buy a Rolls Royce.

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