Trying to save money always leads me to bad places. Like my hair dryer, for example. About three years ago, my Conair died. The lady at Trade Secret showed me the options, which all cost over $100.
$100? My Conair had cost something like $14.99. Seeing my hesitation, the salesperson paused. “I have a really good dryer that’s been marked down to $25,” she said. “But it’s a weird color.” Who cares what my hair dryer looks like, I thought. And that’s how I ended up with my Ed Hardy hair dryer.
It’s a hell of a dryer. My mom tried to take it to Korea until I reminded her of the voltage issue. Still, it’s ugly and racially offensive and I have to hide it when guests use my bathroom, and all that leads me to wonder if the savings of $75 was worth it, in the long run.
I thought of my hair dryer this week as I bought my new skis. The guy helping me at the ski shop, who I should probably refer to as “T,” was about 25 and totally adorable. He reminded me of my high school boyfriend, who skipped a lot of school to go snowboarding, and once wrote me a love letter in which he referred to me throughout as his “Angle.” He wasn’t an academic, but he knew his gear, and I felt similarly trusting of T.
When I told T my budget, he looked depressed. But then he lit up. “Actually, I have a ski that would be great.” He took me over to a pair of white Dynastars. “I’ve skied this twin-tip, it’s awesome and has great control,” he said. “It’s on closeout, because of the design on it.” I looked closer. Ah. No wonder. There was a pink kiss mark on the design. So cheesy. And worse, the kiss made the skis look even more like girl skis, which they clearly were, because they were white. The skis also had an unfortunate label that said “Trouble Maker.” I’m not a trouble maker. In fact, the thought of making trouble of any kind stresses me out.
But the skis had been marked down to $199, including bindings. Less than my last pair of jeans. Tom would be so proud that I’d saved money. “Pretty bad,” I said, smiling at T. “But I can live with it for the price.”
T shook his head. “No, that’s not the bad part.” He rotated the skis to show the bottoms, which look like this.
My God. I couldn’t believe you could put a picture like that on sporting equipment. I fought the urge to throw my coat over the skis. I couldn’t buy them. I would be ridiculous. But $199! Almost the same price as a season rental. “You aren’t just saying they’re good skis to get rid of them, right?”, I asked. T shook his head. I asked that question because I couldn’t ask the one I really wanted to ask, which was “You aren’t just saying they’re good skis because you’re high, right?” It seemed wrong given that he was at work and all.
I looked around at all the normal skis that didn’t have naked women on them, and nibbled nervously at my fingernails. It was so unfair. You shouldn’t feel like you have to sell your soul in order to save a little money.
In the end, I bought them. I told myself they could be ironic. But the buyer’s remorse started almost as soon as I left the store. I remembered that I’m 35, which makes me about five years too old to buy something uncool and pass it off as ironic. I am exactly old enough, however, that someone looking at me in those skis might think that I actually thought the skis were cool. After sleeping on it, I panicked afresh when I called T the next morning to ask him a question about my boots, and he didn’t even remember me at first, which leads me to the conclusion that he was in fact totally stoned when he sold me those skis.
Whatever. I saved money. I have that to cling to. Also, Tom really likes my skis, and keeps asking to look at them again. When Finn saw them, he stared at them wide-eyed and then laughed for a full minute, in a way that made me realize I would be the ridicule, not only of adults, but of children.
At least I saved some money.