Money Blind

Monday, 22 August 2011

I work in an affluent area.  It's quite posh with nothing but private fee-paying schools and lots of boutiques.  When you're not earning much and are somewhat frugal, like myself, working in these kind of areas can be an endless source of puzzlement and despair.

For example, recently a woman came into the Shop to buy a present for someone she didn't really know that well, wasn't sure what she would like ... she picked out a necklace for £50 - for someone she hardly knows!  As she's chatting away about it to Nora, she looks directly at me and comments: 'Well, it's a mere £50!' with a shrug as if fifty pounds is of no real value.

£50!  It takes me a full day of work to earn that (roughly, after tax).  I wouldn't throw away that much on a gift for someone I didn't know anything about.  Would you??  Perhaps on someone close that I cared a lot about and whatever item it was happened to be the best gift ever ... but on a stranger???  Madness.

Please bear in mind that I don't often work more than 2 or 3 days per week.  £50 is extremely precious when you think that it's either half or a third of my weekly income.

Must be nice to have money to burn ...
I find it hard to fully appreciate why some people think that sort of money means nothing.   I understand that by having lots of money you may be more generous with it, but to talk about it in that manner, especially when you aim that comment at people with limited incomes -seriously, are they so well off that the recession hasn't affected them at all?  And are they so oblivious to the fact that shop workers in general don't earn very much?   I felt it was an insensitive comment to make but she was clearly ignorant of what £50 means to someone like me.

Back in my office job there was an older woman named Myrtle who didn't need to work; her husband was quite a high earner and she just wanted a job for something to do, not wanting to be a housewife.   But because she didn't have to worry about money, Myrtle could not comprehend why Sabrina a young woman renting a flat on her own (after her partner left her) and was just able to afford her bills, was so reluctant to go out to expensive restaurants when there were office get-togethers after work.   Honestly, she'd insist 'It's not that expensive!' when the starters were about £12!   The look of confusion on her face were completely genuine and she'd actually be rather sour about Sabrina not attending, not grasping the fact that the cost of the meals would probably cover her monthly bills and that she simply could not afford it.  For Myrtle, it was an alien concept - her husband paid all the bills - it seemed to be beyond her understanding.

Not all of us can afford fancy food at pricey restaurants!
Sab would often insist that she didn't have the money to spare as she allocated her income to bills and a little would be spent on an evening out or gifts for birthdays, yet there were several individuals who would rudely comment (when she wasn't around of course) that Sab was spending money on things whilst claiming she didn't have any - forgetting that Sab didn't have any left over from allocating it to where it was needed!  She didn't literally mean she had not a penny to her name!  It was simply budgeted already and there wasn't anything available to spend in pricey eateries!

For some of us, every penny counts these days and it irks me that some people who have never had to worry about money are looking down their noses at those that are in tough situations.  Hello?  Recession??  People losing their jobs or not had a pay rise in years?

You'd think the majority of the population would have heard about it ...
Do I have enough to park my car at work today?


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