Four Reasons Why I Don’t Like ‘Nice’ Things

I own a crappy car that’s certainly not looking any nicer as I rack up the miles.  In fact, I’m responsible for beating it up even more.  Yesterday, I had a few issues on a road trip back from Massachusetts.  First, I backed in a snowbank and scraped my bumper.  Then, someone parked next to me swung their door open, hitting my car.  To top it all off, a plastic piece under my engine came loose and started dragging on the road, forcing us to pull over on the highway to fix it. I could go on with the perpetual problems that my car has, but I think you get it.

Despite all the issues my car has, I love the fact that I don’t have to constantly worry about my car and I don’t have to put in a lot of effort to care for it.  It’s old and it’s never going to be perfect.  But as long as the engine runs and there’s no serious damage, I can revel in the fact that it’s stress free to own. I think the same concept applies to lots of things that you and I own.  Here are four reasons why I don’t like to always have the latest and greatest stuff out there:

1. I don’t have to worry about blemishing or breaking.  I like to call this the “plastic couch cover” syndrome. Personally, I think it’s crazy to own things and not use them (or excessively protect them) because they might get wrecked if it’s used in the way that’s intended.  I don’t really believe in buying things, like a couch or fancy convertible, simply because they will look nice while unused in my living room or stored in my garage.  I want to sprawl out on the couch without having to worry about if my feet are dirtying it.

2. I don’t have to worry stuff will get stolen or lost. If it isn’t worth much in the first place, I can’t be out too much money if I lose it or if it gets stolen.  This is why I like owning a two-year-old, not-smart phone instead of an iPhone. It’s really unlikely that it would be targeted in any kind of mugging or heist, whereas iPhone thefts seem to be much more likely.  If I lose my phone, it’s probably $50 max to replace it, instead of costing hundreds.  Mine’s not a piece of junk (in fact, it works great), but it’s not in any way expensive, either.

3. I don’t have to spend as much to buy my stuff.  Fancy things cost more.  While there is something to be said for quality, there is also something to be said for paying $3,000 for a set of knives when a $30 set may work just as well.  While I can’t say I’ve ever even touched a $3,000 set of knives, I have a hard time believing they are 100 times better than the cheaper ones.

4. I don’t have to spend as much to maintain my stuff.  My car virtually never goes to the car wash and definitely never gets waxed.  I don’t fix every little ding or make any nonessential repairs on it.  If I spill coffee on the upholstery, it’s not a big deal, either.  On the flip side, I’ve seen others freak out over any little ding or small spill.  As soon as their car makes a “strange noise,” they have to bring it in the the shop to have it checked out (yes, mine is always making strange noises).  I have enough other things to worry about, so my car isn’t about to be one of them. It’s is still reasonably clean and good looking (at least enough so that it wouldn’t stand out in a group of cars).  If it gets scratched, then it’s just acquired a bit more personality.  I’m definitely not about to spend more money than what I need to simply keep it running.

I’m not (universally) against high quality, but I’m against underutilized quality.  I’m not advocating going out and wrecking your “nice” things, either, by using them carelessly.  The ideal is enjoy what you have and be reasonable about maintaining it’s quality, too.

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photo by: Garrette

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