Acquisitions (Ir)rationale by Pamela Francis

I was sitting at the table in one of our local libraries on a sunny Saturday in Northridge when my fourteen year old did the slump-walk over to me, dejected as all getout. He had just gone outside to see if perhaps he’d dropped his Apple earbuds in the parking lot or wherever, and sure enough, he had. He presented the mangled matter to me, dropping their lifeless, once-white now smudged with road soot bodies onto the table, wires dangling, smashed up, dislocated bud covers and all. For a moment I felt that all-too-familiar sinking feeling I get whenever my sons “share” the pain of their myriad losses with me. Like the beautiful orange bike with the black leather accents and orange stitching ($90), stolen right off our balcony that year we lived in Lancaster. Like the beloved Play Station Portable ($179), swiped out of my baby son’s stroller at a gas station we had stopped at that year we lived in… Lancaster. Like the Play Station Portable that got dropped in the toilet less than 2 yrs prior to that by my son that year we lived in… South Carolina. Like the much coveted Beats by Dr. Dre ($300) that I knew I’d probably NEVER buy my kids but that they’d somehow been blessed enough to acquire for Christmas from someone else, that got swiped by some urban pirate that month we moved to… Long Beach along with my son’s backpack of other personally empowering loot (his iphone charger, another faux marble portable charger, his hair pick, and a leather bracelet from Dubai that his grandmother had brought back for him).

Was this the FIFTH pair of earbuds he’d sadly parted ways with in the span of 18 months…? Yes. Would there be another…? Most likely. But what of MY pain…? What would I do with the constant emotional down-pull that comes with being a mom of sons who suffer loss almost weekly?! Skateboards, fidget spinners, earbuds, cell phones, tablets, AAARRRGGGG!!!! I CAN’T TAKE IT!!!!

And what’s more… it’s not going away any time soon. Nah-ah. Because at some point it’ll be girlfriends, hot rods, good jobs, maybe even a home! I don’t want to project anything negative into their futures but in this culture of swift acquisition and its companion — devastating loss…

I’m going to need a kick-ass guided meditation and a really good mantra to see me through.

In the interim, I’ve developed a little something called “Acquisitions Rationale”. On the face of it, its purpose is to have my kids really think through all of this get get get before any money leaves anybody’s wallets. I make them keep a wish list with dates and dollar amounts, and they have to place anything they’re thinking of asking for or buying on that list. We don’t spend a DIME until we’ve 1) located the list (usually crumpled and dog-eared on a bookshelf somewhere), 2) read over the list in this new unit of time since we last made an entry, and 3) really answered the question of “is now really the time to make this acquisition in the face of its cost, our current financial situation and its rank on this list of other crap you said you’d die without?

It’s called stalling, people. But every time I get them to back away from a ($200 XBOX 1) purchase I don’t want to make…

Aham Brahmasmi!

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  1. One Response to “Acquisitions (Ir)rationale by Pamela Francis”

  2. This is both funny and true. I can totally relate. I remember when my son was in grade school and begged me to buy him an Ipod nano. I gave in coz he was in the honor roll. 2 weeks later, it was gone. He didn’t know if it was stolen or if he’d lost it. He’s now a teen and I thought he’d be more responsible, oh well… He lost/left several swimming trunks(yes, trunks!) when he was enrolled in a swimming class, plus bath towels. His watch, shoes, etc. He started getting more responsible of his belongings when I told him that if he loses another stuff then he’ll pay for it. He recently lost his smartphone. When he was able to raise money (gifts from grandparents and other relatives), he paid me for the amount I used to buy the phone. And we used it to buy him a new phone. That helped him a lot to take care of his belongings.

    By Nena on Jun 25, 2017