The Frugal Turned Impulsive: A Cure for The Guilt of The Penny Pincher
Yesterday, I had a little energy leftover after work. This doesn’t usually happen; I usually drag myself home with aching feet and a starving body and stay off my feet as much as possible for the rest of the day. So, I dropped by a store that sells new books with the intent of buying a book that I knew was on sale and maybe another book as a treat for myself.
The book I wanted was there, and so were three others, two of which I thought were also on sale by where they were placed on the shelves. None of them were marked down, even when I asked the cashier to double-check. You know that awkward moment when you’re standing at the checkout counter, and you’re shocked by the price that you’re expected to pay, but the cashier is looking at you expectantly? I had one of those moments. But I paid for the books and felt numb as I walked out.
The numbness didn’t last long. I ran the numbers of my last paycheck in my head, still unspent, and told myself that I didn’t rack up debt, and I still had more than half of my paycheck leftover. I don’t often buy myself new books,–why, when used bookstores and Amazon exist?- and it won’t become a frequent occurrence. Still, later that day, I felt foolish. Under that moment of confidence, I had written my name in all the books to prevent myself from regretting anything; it didn’t work. I admitted my impulsiveness to Just’In, and he shook his head in disbelief when I told him I couldn’t return them. Still, he ruffled my hair and called me silly, and I was just relieved that his confidence in me hadn’t wavered.
That foolishness only intensified when I realized that there was a need that had to be fixed. I’d discovered earlier that the display on my watch had faded, but knew that the instruction booklet for it was somewhere in Just’In’s files. When he got home, he confirmed what I’d suspected: it was the watch battery, which is not protected under the watch warranty.
I need my watch for work. Retail environments intentionally don’t hang clocks in their stores, and they don’t want their employees to have cell phones on the sales floor, either. The only clocks, therefore, are on the store phones and on the registers, which has me often walking to the back of the store to check if I’m off my shift. Thus, I needed to get my watch battery replaced today so I could use it for the rest of the work week. It figures that my watch dies during the week I’m scheduled to work for four days versus one, like I’ve normally been scheduled.
This only added to my internal angst, and when I woke this morning, I felt very insecure about my money-spending abilities. Only a dunce will spend almost $50 on a want when she ought to spend the money on a need and when she’s got a book-buying outing planned next week for her anniversary. The dunce managed to shake herself out of the worry on her walk to the appropriate bus stop–all sorts of things to look at and watch; the motion of newly-rested feet was pleasant. She also managed to stay distracted with the people on the buses and with the need to walk to all the right places and through all the right doors.
I had written down the name of a store to go to for watch battery replacement, but it wasn’t anywhere in the mall I went to today, like I thought it was. (We didn’t buy the watch in this mall, but rather, one in Ogden. Thus, the store recommended to get the watch battery is not in this mall, but in the one in Ogden) So, I did what every normally-frugal person does: I asked all the jewelry stores in the mall for the price and time it would take for the service and the battery. I was just about to head to the lowest-priced one when I realized I’d forgotten a store. And to my astonishment, when I asked there how much a battery replacement would cost, the salesguy told me it was free. For the battery and the service.
If you live in the Salt Lake area and you need a new watch battery, go to Schubach’s in Fashion Place Mall. I didn’t pay them a dime, and the salesguy changed the battery right there on the glass jewelry counter, in front of me, dressed in a snazzy, salesman suit and wielding tiny screwdrivers from a cardboard box. His co-worker even set it to the correct time for me.
And I felt so good about the free battery, I bought my favorite mall food for lunch: a garlicky pretzel with marinara and a delicious smoothie. With all regret and insecurity erased.
With this sort of start, this proves to be an interesting week as well. Hooray for summer adventures.