Saturday, August 22, 2009

Poor Snobs

I've recently encountered a major amount of snobbery.
People that are too good to shop at walmart.
Too good to shop at DI.
Regardless of the exact same items (I'm talking Brand Name Items) being sold at Walmart for 1/2 the price of Babies R Us.
The same people that would never wear a moisenite regardless of it being indistinguishable between a diamond.

These people happen to be the people that have either declared bankruptcy, have a great deal amount of debt, or do not own their own homes.

When I talk to these people I get the "That's not good enough from me" attitude and I can't understand it, mostly because I know that they have no money.

Those that have money, do not have this attitude.

I know books have been written about this- The Millionaire Next Door and Suzy Orman talks about it in a number of her books- those that live modestly have more money, but it's starting to drive me crazy.

It's as bad as unwarranted arrogance.

But then again, it's not like congress is much different.


davers said...

The thing that gets me is how often the more expensive really isn't better. i can't tell you how many times a more expensive product I've paid for has ended up inferior.

Hmmmm ... now that's something that REALLY parallels what congress is doing right now (or trying to do).

Your comment about the kind of people like this is really telling though: poor people. Where the whole country is heading given the same attitude among our elected representatives.

DC needs an enema.

AdamF said...

Perhaps they have that attitude to deal with their underlying anxiety / insecurity / self-worth that may be partially due to having no money. I have found that these outward issues (WalMart isn't good enough for me, I need a huge diamond, etc.) are almost always related to one's sense of self-worth, inner peace, etc.

These people also often display a problem that plagues all economic classes: the want of MORE money. Hugh Nibley said the correct translation shouldn't say the love of money is the root of evil, but the desire for more.

Sneakers said...

I've always said to people, "I really don't like shopping at Walmart, but it's just so cheap!" And so, I shop there for pretty much anything that has a national brand.

Sure, if you watch the sales and stuff, you can certainly find cheaper prices occasionally on certain products, but in general they're consistently cheaper. I do think that their perishables aren't nearly as good as at the grocery store, though. I also hate waiting to check out. Ungh! But still, I shop there.

Caveat emptor however, because some items at Walmart and Sam's Club are not identical to their counterparts at other stores. The two that come to mind are tires and large electronics (like TVs) the tires are labeled the same, but they actually have a layer or two less of tread, and the electronics are using missing something from the full retail version -- fewer connections, cheaper remotes, etc.

As for Costco vs. Sam's, I'll agree on the pricing, but Costco offers much better customer service. 90 day return policy on electronics and an extra year warranty? That's awesome!

spd said...

Walmart's produce and meat are horrible. I stopped shopping there when they didn't have tomatoes in stock. Tomatoes or any sort. So now I get all our produce/meat at Harmon's as well as great customer service. I may be paying a little more, but the difference in quality is evident. I pretty much get everything else at Target because it's right around the corner from Harmon's. Most non-food items I buy online from Amazon. Oh, and I only buy Apple computers, with their hefty price premium (as Microsoft would have us believe).

I guess this makes me a snob and therefore poor. But, despite my snobbish behavior, I am also completely debt free and have 6 months of cash in the bank. If that's poor, I guess I'll take it.

Salt H2O said...

Thank you for your shopping list, if you wouldn't mind also sharing exactly how much you have in the bank in savings, your annual income,throw in your social security number for good measure for a sufficent credit check to prove that you are tuely too good to save money- and show that people that think they are above stepping into a Walmart, a DI, or any discount store are indeed better than the rest of us.

Miggy said...


Hey lady. 'Member me? We're old pals.

NEWho... I'm pretty financially stable. Own a house. You know doing OK. Now I love me thrift store shopping, craigslist, antique malls. Shoot, every piece of furniture I have is second hand--and I love it. BUT Walmart is a different thing. I prefer not to shop there due to being personally opposed to Walmart as a company. Not that I think they're an evil empire, but I do believe they have a negative effect on our overall economy and industry. Having lived a good part of my childhood in a small Nebraska town, I saw the first hand the effect Walmart can have. Business after business shutting down on main street where small business used to thrive. I believe we pay a much larger price for buying 'cheep.' When Walmart is one of the largest single employers in this country they create a need for uneducated, low paid employers who are generally not given health benefits.

Occasionally I have succumbed to shopping there when really trying to stay within the budget, but I generally steer clear...but not because I'm too good to save money.

spd said...

I'm sorry if I came across as someone who is "too good to save money", that's not what I was trying to say at all. Maybe it was the sleepless night with my crying newborn that didn't make my sentiments about Walmart very coherent. I guess what I was trying to say was that there are people who don't shop for other reasons besides being too good to shop there. I don't because I don't like the quality of some of their products, and as the person above me said, they're not all that good for local business.

If you ask my wife, she'll be the first to tell you that I'm as frugal as they come and try to find the best deals possible, the majority of the time. But sometimes, I choose to not always go after the lowest price.

Now that you've got my shopping list, maybe we can trade recipes or something? :-)

Salt H2O said...

Miggy and SDP-

I entirely understand people who would rather not shop at walmart- for a variety of reasons. I was one of those people for many many years.

I take issue with "I'm too good for DI, thriftstores Walmart, Ross, so on and so forth" attitude I get from people that can't afford to have that attitude. It's not that these people would rather buy the items from local vendors, they just feel better about themselves if they buy it at Nordstrom rather than Ross, at Janie and Jack rather than DI or Babies R us rather than Walmart. I'm 100% on board with 'think global, buy local'- but not so much if by local they mean Wild Oats.

It's the same attitude that we find among a number of people that would rather be on unemployment than take a job that's 'beneath them'.

For clarity: I'm not saying your a snob if you don't shop at Walmart.

Steve said...

My first question is "why do you even know or talk to these people?"

I don't like to shop at wal-mart b/c yes, I do find that I prefer very specific things. Not usually a brand name, but if I buy something that works, I'm happier. I don't even know what "DI" is, haha. But we usually buy most stuff online b/c it is cheaper and better than discount stores, which ARE an evil empire, even Target I feel now. But we buy food at a higher end grocery store (not Whole Foods, which is as bad or worse than Wal-mart for the local food industry) b/c we get lots of freebies as a frequent shopper (ie $50 in gas, luggage, etc.) "secret" coupons emailed to me for signing up to their email list, and the meat and produce is always better than the "save" money grocery store a block away.

Besides, it isn't the penny pinching that makes or breaks a person's bank account (ie buying Aldi Peanut Better Vs Jif), it is the big purchases (interest rates, vacation costs, buying bigger and better things for no reason, etc.). You can buy thousands of jars of expensive peanut butter if you decided not to add 12 inches to your tv?!!?!?!?

Jonesy said...

just for the record - and I can't speak for all Wal-mart employees - but Wal-mart offered my college educated husband management experience that his previous union run grocery employer didn't in 12+ years. He has been there almost 8 years now and our standard of living has improved. As far as I know - very few employed persons are "given" health benefits. Walmart offers several healthcare options at reasonable rates (in my opinion)There are a few part time positions at Wal-mart that do not have these benefits available to them but I'd guess that the "Main St USA" employers cannot afford to offer their part timers insurance either.

And as far as shutting down small business - I'm sure that the internet can take just as much of the blame. No one wants to pay top dollar for their favorite author's newest release when they can get it online for much less. It's a shame but I don't think Wal-mart shoulders all of that responsibility.

And my theory, based on my husband's experience is that Wal-mart has provided opportunities for undereducated employees who might otherwise be on welfare. I may be looking at this with rose colored glasses but my husband firmly believes that many of his associates would be "unemployable" if it weren't for Wal-mart.

mj said...

I guess I don't know too many people that fit into the "poor snobs" category--I shop at Wal-mart on occasion but it's not as convenient to me as other stores and if I can Craigslist something all the better! I've actually been impressed in recent years that Wal-mart has started stocking more environmentally-friendly products, taking steps to make their health insurance a bit better and in general actually responding to criticism (slowly but surely).

But I will absolutely agree that Ross is a better deal than Nordstrom's any day as well as almost any other store that sells maternity clothes. Go Ross.

Steve, DI is a thrift store in Utah that is particularly well-organized and pretty stocked.

Alice said...

I'm too good for walmart. :) Just kidding... I don't shop there for reasons similar to Miggy, and also on a lot of items, I think the quality is less than stellar. If I were really being principled, I wouldn't shop at any big box store, but being only semi-principled, I still shop at Target, and sometimes other non-walmart stores.

I love DI.

Anonymous said...

Would you classify these people as the same type of people that are "too good" for coupons? And if not, is there class distinctions of 'shopping snobbery'?