I live in a suburb that has grown rapidly over the past decade. When we first moved here, there were two shopping areas within three miles of our home. Now there are at least eight. Where once there were trees, now there are stores and restaurants.
A lot of the development I can understand. Our community has a lot of residents and we were driving up to 15 miles to get to certain stores. Bringing the stores closer to us has made good business sense for the stores (such as our always busy Barnes & Noble) and for us.
Although a lot of the development does make sense, I began to notice a few years ago that every strip mall and shopping area that I passed seems to have a manicurist and a therapeutic massage parlor offering their respective services. More disconcertingly, despite our troubled economy those establishments seem to be doing a bang-up business. I just don’t understand why.
I drove by a therapeutic massage parlor the other day. A sign in the window advertised a thirty minute massage for $49.99. Several people appeared to be sitting inside waiting for their turn. I was aghast. So many of us are clipping coupons and cutting back, yet there are still people who are willing to spend frivolously on a massage?
My wife mentioned my disgust to an acquaintance – not a wealthy woman by any stretch of the definition of wealth. My wife’s acquaintance, in all seriousness, told my wife that of course the massage parlors are busy because with everyone worried about money, we need a good massage to calm our nerves. Imagine that — Because we are worried about money, we need to spend more money on a massage.
I feel the same amount of contempt for manicurists. I know I shall anger some of my readers for admitting this, but I really lose a lot of respect for women with long, polished, manicured nails. Although I am all in favor of proper hygiene, I do not see how anyone can be a productive member of society without well-trimmed finger nails. Work requires nimble dexterity and I have never known a person with long finger nails who has been able to work as well as a person with short nails. Indeed, it is the women with broken finger nails who always worked hardest and the broken nails were tribute to that.
Why then do countless women flood the manicurists’ salons in my community so that they can get manicures or, even worse, pedicures? Has vanity advanced to such a level in the USA that long nails are preferable to all of the security that might come from saving the money that is spent on manicures or to putting it toward purchases that a household really needs?
I realize that some people may have the money to both “enjoy” a massage and to buy manicures for themselves or their spouses. That is not the point. Is it truly appropriate for anyone to spend money so frivolously when there are so many that are in need in the USA and around the world? Wouldn’t it be better to at least save that money for the dark day when, perhaps, it will be needed for food or prescriptions?
Our spending patterns in the USA often remind me of the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Do you share my view? Is it frivolous to waste one’s money on massages or manicures, or do you feel that those are legitimate ways to spend money? What kind of services do you consider to be frivolous expenditures? What services have you felt the need to forego in our current down economy? If you have given up something, does it bother you to see others who have not?