Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paying For Convenience

I just got back from a long weekend trip with my 3 sisters (to visit my parents). I had a great time. I also witnessed some of the interesting financial decisions of one of my sisters.

Sister #2 had more travel sized items than most local drug stores! Seriously. It was unbelievable. She had Mini Tide To Go Pen, Mini Downy Wrinkle Release, Mini Hairspray, Mini Shaving Cream, and lots more (that I can't think of right now). Just imagining how much these mini name brand items probably cost made me dizzy.

The same sister also had every kind of medicine imaginable. She had several options for an upset stomach, headache, bug bite, etc.

She also had the fancy aerosol spray sun block that I refuse to buy because of the outrageous price.

None of these things surprised me. She is a name brand shopper of pretty much everything. She likes the nicest (most expensive) toilet paper and paper towels. She uses the expensive name brand liquid laundry detergent. She buys name brand pain relievers and medicines. (She probably gets most of this from my mother, who is also very (name) brand loyal.) She buys individually wrapped snacks for her kids. She laughed at me when I said that baby wipes were a luxury not a necessity (once my kids were out of diapers).

She also bought several snacks at the airport to bring on the plane, including a bottle of water that cost $3.99. (I told her that I would have to be on the verge of dehydration in the desert to pay that much for water!) I'm sure the snacks were pricey too - flavored hummus and crackers (very yummy) and a few kinds of candies. I waited for my complimentary beverage and snack on board. (Okay, I tried a little of her crackers and dip.)

I know my sister well, so none of these things were surprising to me. What was a little surprising was how much value she placed on convenience. We were discussing vegetables and she was saying how she really liked these vegetables that come in a pouch that you can steam in your microwave in 20 seconds (carrots, I think). I say "oh". And told her that she knows I won't pay extra when I can buy a giant bag of regular ones for much less. Then she played the "convenience card" - saying that because she works (teacher), she doesn't have a lot of time for meal prep, and that it was worth a lot to her to be able to have those carrots ready in 20 seconds. I said "oh" (again), and just had to add that it really doesn't take very long to boil frozen vegetables. She said "yes it does". And I said "no it doesn't". (Yes, we were acting somewhat like 2 year olds!) Anyway, she either had a hard time believing that you can really boil frozen carrots in 4 minutes, or felt that saving 3 minutes and 40 seconds of time was worth a lot of money.

Anyway, it is clear that Sister #2 and I will probably never agree on finances. (And no, she is not financially well off, and does complain about a lack of money.)

I have a lot of room for improvement, but overpaying for convenience has not been one of my problems. :)