I was wandering around the cosmetic section at Macy’s the other day, looking for an eyeliner. I’d just seen a test edition of a new series of “Just Read It” and noted I looked as pale as a curtain sheer. After 4 years of co-hosting the 10 minute book review program on YouTube with Susan Stoner, she and her hubby had decided to travel. So, I’ll be hosting solo beginning in June. A formal announcement will come later, but a little repeating won’t go amiss. I have written a blog for almost 9 years, 5 days a week, yet I have Facebook friends unaware of the fact or that I’ve published 4 books. Obviously, I’m not the center of the universe. That’s why a little repetition can be a good thing.
In any case, I hope this background explains why I was haunting the makeup counters at Macys. And, I’m glad I did. A little investigation proved that prices for eyeliner were as random as throwing dice. Costs ranged from $17 to $32, depending on the label.
At Este Lauder, I asked the clerk why her eyeliner cost $32 dollars when two counters away, I would pay $17. The woman, with dyed black hair, gave me a withering gaze and flicked one hand in my direction as if I were a fly. “If $17 is your price range, I suggest you go to the other counter.”
Ouch. There was a put down. She saw me as either too poor, too stingy or too stupid to warrant further attention. So, I followed her advice, going one better. I crossed not to another counter but a street, all the way to the Dollar Store, where I purchased an eyeliner for $1.00.
The notion that someone with money longs to pay $32 for a pencil that costs pennies to manufacturer is a fanciful notion shared only by those eager to part with their hard-earned cash. Some luxury goods may support high prices. A Cadillac, for example, might involve more moving parts than my tiny Scion; but that difference may also explain why I spend less time sitting in the waiting room of the auto repair department, reading coffee-stained magazines.
The skill of growing money doesn’t come from picking a lucky lottery ticket. What’s required is a willingness to grow what’s in the bank. All the “best” people want a bargain, including the very rich. No Este Lauder counter girl could intimidate them. They know the difference between expensive and value. They also don’t require the newest gadget when the older model still works.
The other day, a Facebook friend posted the harrowing story of a lost hiker on her page. The woman had survived a couple of days, wandering alone in a wintry forest where the night temperature fell below zero. She’d only meant to take a walk, so she wasn’t prepared for a rigorous outing. Her one hope was her smart phone. As ill-luck would have it, of course, she was outside a service area.
Eventually, rescuers found her. She’d suffered little harm. A happy ending, really. Still, I couldn’t help wondering if the woman might have found her way home sooner if she’d carried a map.