The Buying Jones

I want to buy a coffee machine for $149. Why? Well, it does a few things my current coffee maker does not, such as froth milk and look really cool, and…

I don’t need a new coffee maker. I hope. This current one gurgled at me a few weeks ago and I panicked for a second. Suppose it went out on me in the middle of another shutdown and I didn’t have another coffee maker to replace it… I would have a bag of coffee beans and no way to enjoy it. But, if I buy this new flashy thing here, I can enjoy it and if something happens to it, I will still have the other one, as a standby, so I don’t have to go without a hot cup of fresh coffee one day in my life…

The Buying Jones is upon me. It’s when I get an almost unshakable urge to spend some money on something, for no reason other than the sensation of spending some money. COVID-19 isn’t providing any checks or balances because I hate shopping in stores. Online shopping is the only premium shopping experience for me. My fingers never tire. The next store window is only a click or two away. And what I buy gets delivered to me.

The Jones has got control of my heart and head again, practically demanding that I spend enough to slake it’s irrational thirst, so it can hibernate for another couple, three months, sometimes four, until wakes again, and demands another monetary expenditure.

I can barely trust myself at times.

I’m eyeing a slick red and grey pullover with ¼ zipper with red patches high on the chest that would perfectly match these cool sneakers from Nike or Puma that I will buy as soon as I find them. Buying Jones is exploiting my unresolved regrets FROM HIGH SCHOOL, tempting me to try to claim some of that hipness I never had as a teenager. “To Look Cool Just Once”.

I don’t need a car vacuum. I don’t own a car. Yes, I can use it around the house, instead, but I want to buy it because it looks cool. I would love to have it laying around my house, just to look at it. The other reason to buy it is to spend some money and ease this spending itch.

Where did it come from?

I used to have some self-control over money. Didn’t I? Did I have self control when it came to money?

Maybe…I didn’t?

I had, and have, great self-control over money when I am in a financial tight spot. Then the spirit of austerity settles over me like fog over London, like snow over Alaska, like an eagle’s wings over the nest. And, I can shave my spending down to almost nothing. Just the necessities. No frills. Well, no expensive frills. One-a-week visits to the dollar store, for deals on Gatorade and name-brand pasta sauce. Store brand cream cheese for my bagels. Extra large frozen burrito for one dollar. I pare it down.

The Jones may stir during that time, but it’s only a small mewl. It’s no match for the spirit of austerity, and besides that, it knows that there is no money. The Buying Jones only really roars when I have convinced myself that I have disposable income, that I have loose cash that I can afford to spread around.

Once that financial crisis was over – and the last one was the first few months of the coronavirus shutdown, when I didn’t know how money and supplies I needed in order to feel secure – I drifted back into my old ways, slowly, and picked up some new ones, like meal delivery. Before the coronavirus, I had ordered through Grubhub or Postmates three times; I’ve used them ten times since the shutdown, and all of them in the last three months.

So, what do I do?

I have to spend enough money to feel like I have some money, or suffer this endless scratching at my skull until it goes away.

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