Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The wages of sin

On September 30, 2000, I bought an expensive pair of sunglasses. I felt so guilty about spending the money that I accidentally referred to them in emails to friends back in the US as my “sin-glasses”. Turns out they were a good investment because today, nearly 12 years later, they finally broke.

I bought the sunglasses more or less by accident when Nigel and I were out shopping one Saturday. They cost me $202, which at the time was about US$82, which, I remarked at the time, was probably almost as much as I’d spent on all the other sunglasses I'd ever bought, combined.

Allowing for inflation, those “sin-glasses” would cost about $274 in today’s money—which would be an astounding $222 in today’s US dollars. This goes to show how inflation affects things (the price in NZ dollars) as well as how low the Kiwi dollar was in September 2000—it was worth less than half of what it’s worth today.

Before that day in 2000, I typically bought cheap sunglasses. My “sin-glasses” were replacing a pair I bought three years earlier for US$7 from a street vendor at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, which I’d lost. Since then, I also bought another pair of cheap sunglasses at a store in Paeroa a few years ago for $4 because I’d accidentally left my “sin-glasses” at home in Auckland and needed to drive. I lost them this past January.

What’s interesting to me is that the only two pairs of sunglass I’ve ever lost were both cheap—the expensive ones lasted me nearly 12 years. Actually, they probably would have lasted me longer, but they kept getting squashed in my coat pocket, which led me to bend them back into shape, a little too forcefully, apparently. The only other defect was a scratch on one lens I earned when I dropped them at a relative’s house around the time they were what turned out to be “middle aged”.

I know that in the early days, I treated them so well it was practically with reverence. Clearly that didn’t last, but in between then and now, those sunglasses served me well. Sometimes it really does make sense to pay for a high quality product.

Those sunglasses served me well. No sin in that.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

"But what really knocked me out were the cheap sunglasses" - not applicable!