Big Purchases

After describing the arduous car-purchasing process I had just been through, a friend of mine congratulated me then said “I think we regret small purchases way more often than big ones.”

I don’t regret buying my computer. Or buying my second car. I do regret the $40 Carhart overalls, and the $4 cardigan. I don’t regret the $60 boots, but I wish I could go back and take that 40 pack of markers out of my cart. And the cheap art supply case from that garage sale. Trinkets, candy bars and those pieces of clothing from the thrift store that are just too cheap to pass up. “Even if I wear it once, it’ll be worth it.”

But for me, at least, those little things pile up quickly. Those button shirts are just a little too long to wear happily, but not long enough to get rid of easily. It’s the little things that take up the space. Those things that, once they’re bought, seemed to be glued in place somehow.

But the big purchases, those only happen every so often. They’re thought through. Deliberated. Looked at from lots of different angles. They’re usually tools, or extravagant gifts to ourselves, or sometimes necessities. I don’t regret the trip to New York, or the $130 off-Broadway theater tickets. But my sister probably regretted the cheap glass of wine at intermission.

I feel good about my new car, but I regret the milkshake I spilled driving it home.

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