My aunt lived in NYC for most of my childhood before heading out to the left coast. And every time she came to visit, she would inevitably yell out “How much?!” wherever we were and whatever we did. We bought a pizza. How much?! We bought groceries. How much!? We went out for dinner/coffee/ice cream. How much!? It was as if she was experiencing culture shock. She just couldn’t get over how much things cost in the suburbs. Or, to put a finer point on it, how little they cost.
I never got this. It was just something we joked with her about–and sometimes, joked about without her (but only out of love Auntie, only out of love!). We used to employ her under $20 rule–if it’s under $20, you buy it. No questions asked. There’s no room for regret if you buy it with a $20. And we loved that rule–in the suburbs, we could get a good amount for that price.
Then I moved to the city. And it all clicked. I found myself yelling out how much!? when I went home. I’ve been known to blurt that out in groceries stores all around the Hartford area too. In fact, the last time I was at home, I stopped by Marshall’s (cheap in it’s own right) and found Steve Madden sunglasses that I absolutely loved. While trying to decide if I really needed another pair of sunglasses (and by the way, the answer to that is always YES, I do need another pair) I found the price tag.
$10!? OMG I am SO buying these!
Since I was in the Wild Wild Wex I shocked the hell out of the lady standing next to me, but I couldn’t have cared less because I could not believe how much these were!
I started thinking about all of this today after my Red Mango run*. I spent $4.55 on a small cup of fro-yo with raspberries and chocolate chips. And I didn’t bat an eye. Yesterday I justified paying $8.67 for a bacon cheeseburger. New Yorkers live with this totally warped sense of value. I should know. Remember the haircut incident? All of that could have been avoided if the cheapest salon in the city wasn’t charging a minimum $90 for a trim. And if I want to cater to my curls, I’m looking at $250. Are you kidding me?
So here’s my plan. Imagine this. IMAGINE that EVERYTHING in this city was half off. Groceries. Parking. Cab fares. RENT!!! Seriously. You want to talk about an economic boom? Us New Yorkers would be grabbing shit up like hungry rats.
If I could get out of Gristede’s for less than 28 bucks a shot, I’d be there WAY more often. And I’m already there at least twice a week. (Seriously…$8 for a box of CTC makes me want to kill myself, just a tiny little bit).
If I could buy razor blades for less than $20, I would be so much easier on the eyes during shorts weather (which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is now). I know I AM a little bit French…that doesn’t mean I have to groom like I am.
If Boo and I could go to the movies for under $50, then maybe we wouldn’t have to wait for everything to come out on DVD before we saw stuff.
Oh, sure, there are the obvious exceptions. My Cheers bar for one. And my favorite sushi place. And um…the hot dog guys on the corner. But really. That’s about it.
So this is totally my plan. Cut everything in half (prices, not the actual crap, geeze, don’t be so literal) and maybe we’ll hear an island-wide cry of “HOW MUCH?!”.
And, for once, the answers won’t make us die inside.
*If I haven’t said it before, let the records show that Red Mango is the poo and if you haven’t tried it yet, you suck at life. Seriously. And I don’t want to hear any of that Pinkberry BS–this stuff is better. Now shut up and go get some. Oh, but not until you are done reading. Thanks.