In August, my husband Will and I went on a cruise with my parents. These family trips used to be a tradition (happening about every other year), but because of personal schedules and the pandemic, we hadn’t been on a trip together in five years.
On our last trip five years ago, on the last day of the cruise, the staff held a “2 t-shirts for $20” sale. My Mom and I went to that sale, bought exactly the same two shirts together, and each of us took home one t-shirt.
We both loved these t-shirts and worn them so much that they had gotten weary and started to fall apart over the last five years (I had already gotten rid of mine). So, Mom suggested at the end of the cruise that we go to the sale again, to replace them. This time it was 2 for $25, maybe to account for inflation? In any case, we went.
It was complete chaos.
Two tables were piled high with t-shirts, and at least 100 people were already swarmed around them when we got there five minutes after the sale had started. People were frantically pawing through the shirts, hoping to find the most shirts they could in their preferred sizes. They only had one person at the cash register, so the line was already out the door.
I felt like hiding and screaming, “You gotta get me out of here! These bargain shoppers are crazy!!” like Rachel in this Friends clip!
Forty-five minutes later, after eventually making our way through the crowd to find two shirts and standing on the check-out line, Mom and I had bought two new shirts– but I felt like I had been through a consumerism clothing war to get them. I was sweaty, anxious, felt a bit nauseous, and I would never get those forty-five minutes of my life back.
Truthfully? The deal wasn’t worth it.
Sales and Effort
Stores like to make us think that sales are worth our effort. Pricing tactics and periodic sales that sound too good to be true trick us into spending time and money that could be spent better elsewhere.
There are some instances in which there is a sale on a product that we use regularly– those sales are helpful. But most sales are engineered to get us to buy more stuff that we don’t actually need.
We leave the store, or close the internet tab, feeling like we got the better of the companies, but in reality the companies get the better of us. And we keep getting sucked into these sales, thinking that it’s worth it.
Yet we are reminded:
You can’t save money by spending money. Everything is 100% off if you don’t buy it.”The Minimalists
Pure and simple, most sales are not worth it.
One Powerful Question from God
Spending our resources on things that aren’t worth it isn’t new– in fact, it was happening back in the prophet Isaiah’s time as well. While describing God’s vision of abundance, Isaiah asks this powerful question:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not breadIsaiah 55:2
and your earnings for that which does not satisfy?
Why indeed? What do we think we gain by accumulating things that won’t satisfy us? We think we get a higher social status, or belonging through conformity, or envy from others– but often what we actually get is deeper into debt and more physical clutter around us.
Our time, energy, and monetary resources are worth so much more than chasing deals and sales. Trust me– the deal isn’t worth it.
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