Yesterday my sister and I made a quick trip to Wal Mart to pick up a few random beauty supplies. We found what we needed, got in line, paid for our stuff, and left. As we were getting back into my car, I noticed that we were both carrying high-end handbags and wondered if anyone shopping in the Wal Mart had also noticed….for a fleeting second, I wondered how many people made assumptions about our relative wealth/income based on the bags we were carrying.
I suppose this is also true of cars, clothes, and electronics, but the whole “were they judging me by my bag” thought reminded me of how ridiculous it is to try to guage peoples’ wealth by the stuff that they have. Take our handbags for example: I was carrying an all leather cross-body Coach bag and my sister was carrying a Marc by Marc Jacobs. They’re both beautiful and very expensive, but they don’t tell you a damn thing about how much money my sister or I make. Both bags retail for about $400, but I got mine at a Coach outlet with birthday money for $120 and my sister bought hers on sale at Bergdorf’s with a giftcard she got from her former boss – her total out-of-pocket cost was only $5! Sure, we’re both doing ok financially (she makes a lot more money than I do!) but neither of us is in a financial position to pay full retail price for either bag.
But…it’s still very tempting to try to evaluate how others are doing financially based on the stuff they’re wearing/carrying. I find myself doing it frequently, even though I know it’s completely baseless…sometimes I do it without even realizing fit, like when I was at bar a few weeks ago and a woman carrying a Fendi bag was complaining about the outrageous drink priices (they were, but I immediately, unconsciously jumped to “but that lady is carrying a freaking Fendi – why does she care about paying $15 for a cocktail?!”)
What about you? Do you judge other peoples’ wealth/income by the stuff they have, even if you don’t mean to?