The Idle American: The Art of Buyer’s Remorse

Someone said there are only two kinds of people – those who are impulse buyers and admit it, and those who are impulse buyers and deny it

Okay, I confess. I am – as many retailers know – a sucker of the first order. I’ve ignored pleas of loved ones and friends warning me about buying items at greatly reduced prices.

I want to do better, but can’t help it if adrenaline jumps into overdrive upon my noticing signs like “drastically reduced” or “75% off.” You get the idea.

Someone said there are only two kinds of people – those who are impulse buyers and admit it, and those who are impulse buyers and deny it. Those balking at such a suggestion would rather endure Chinese water tortures than admit they are easy prey for stores’ “come-ons.” I’ve been a member of this group for some 70 years….

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   Again, I apologize for citing personal experiences, but they’re the only kind I’ve had. Persons gray of head and/or long of tooth remember that in the early 50s, a movie about Davy Crockett (“King of the Wild Frontier”) was a box office sensation. Crockett items soon were finishing second only to hot cake sales.

I’d seen the Crockett coonskin caps, but balked at plunking down $1.98 for one. I didn’t know the Crockett mystique was soon to ebb, and during a visit to Fort Worth, found them on sales for 11 cents each at Leonard’s Department Store.

I “closed them out,” greatly denting a $5 bill for the three dozen caps in stock. My mind flooded with dollar marks as I thought of friends I figured would jump at the chance to purchase these items for 50 cents each. Why I’d have a profit of around $15, and bragging rights at Early High School. Alas, news of the Crockett bubble bursting reached our community before I returned from the city. I made zero sales, and during an attic-clearing session a few years ago, found a box full of coonskin caps. There were 35, but I really did enjoy wearing that 11-cent cap for a weekend….

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Don Newbury can always find the lighter side of life.

My wife has given me the stern look, reinforced with “when-are-you-ever-going-to-learn” mutterings. After 56 years of marriage, she is convinced that it will never happen in my lifetime. I lean on the “I-just-can’t-help-myself” excuse, realizing that it is a mere “bleep” in a world where many stronger sounds abound.

I will spare you details of dozens of other lousy purchasing decisions. One made this very day, though, is worth mentioning, since I came out on top! Upon entering our Sam’s store, a huge display within 20 feet of the entrance beckoned. Thereon were stacks of machines with suggested retail prices of $49.95 each, but for one day only, were offered for $12.95. The guy in front of me bought six.

I didn’t want to make him look like a piker, so I bought just four. Not until arrival at home did I read the fine print about the magical machines. About all I knew was what I’d heard, something about the machines being worth the price if only for the “white noise” that helps many of us sleep…

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   I wasn’t really prepared when Brenda asked, “What are these?”

Stammering, I mentioned how throngs at Sam’s bragged about the magical machine. She wasn’t buying that, proceeding to dismember me by reading the small print loud enough that passersby could easily hear.  She said that we already have four white-sound machines.

The literature claimed the light rays greatly enhance yoga exercises. That was all I needed to hear. I returned to Sam’s, explaining that I don’t do yoga, and wasn’t interested in a contraption whose white-noise feature might be trumped by yoga-enhancing lights….

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   Sam’s purchasing agent must be catching “what for.” He (she?) may have bought a train load of these machines, never thinking that white sound for sleeping and fancy lights for yoga exercises might be a lousy combination.

I suspect he (she?) may be named Walton, or once was.

Whatever, I’m going to try to do better….

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   Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, writes weekly and continues to speak throughout Texas. Contact: Phone, 817-692-5625. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Facebook: Don Newbury.

Please click HERE to find Don’t humorous and inspirational memoir: Life by the Seat of the Pants.

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