JAN: I like to think of myself as fairly savvy, a former consumer reporter, hip to scams and not overly influenced by marketing. Sure, I buy too many pairs of boots that I don't really need, but this is New England where winters are long and cold. And yes, I just fell prey to this cool new accessory to the IPAD that is both a cover and a keyboard. But I'm a writer, after all, these are the tools of my trade.
But then, the other day in the shower, where all my biggest revelations occur, I had a revelation that completely destroyed any last image I had of myself as a smart consumer. Or even a smart woman. I hate to even admit this, but here it is: I really, really, really, like the shampoo and conditioner to match.
Inside my shower stall, where only my husband and I, and occasionally one of my children, ever see, I actually care enough to prefer medium sized bottles that are the same brand. This has nothing to do with the superiority of the product and everything to do with the symmetry so carefully engineered by those clever marketing people who designed the bottles.
So hopefully, you are all above this particular marketing ploy. But even the frugal among you (Hallie), must have at least one marketing trick you fall for. It might be overpriced wine because you like the sound of the name, a high priced seltzer because you like the label font, or slippers filled with a depth of fleece you'd only need in the Arctic, but somewhere in your closet, your cabinets, or maybe your shower, there is a purchase of which you are not particularly proud.
Now is the time to fess up.
HALLIE: Matching shampoo and conditioner? Sure -- they're the ones my husband filches from hotel rooms.
First off, I don't take showers if I can help it. Baths all the way. It's a form of meditation and inner healing. And I confess that I occasionally shampoo with... soap. Bath soap. It does a great job, and particularly after all that shampoo-and-conditioner gunk builds up. Your hair will actually squeak!
And you nailed it -- food is my weakness. I fall for overpriced smoked fish. The stuff that's twice...make that three times as expensive but it really does taste so much better. And I just need a taste or two to make me very happy.
RHYS: Jan, it makes sense that you use the same brand of shampoo and conditioner. Because if one works well on your hair, the other will too.
But speaking of hair, I have a shameful confession to make. I won a haircut at a really expensive salon. She hyped products and because I wasn't actually paying for the haircut I felt guilty and .... paid $35 for this tiny little bottle of mousse. Got it home and it doesn't even dispense properly.
I am sometimes sorely tempted by infomercials that promise to erase wrinkles and did once send for a device that sends out sound waves to improve the skin.
Can't say I've noticed much difference... but since I'm usually a careful shopper like Hallie I am allowed an occasional goof.
ROBERTA: My weakness is organic and local food. I wait all winter for the farmer's market to open on the town green and happily spend a small fortune there every Friday. To me this is worth it for many reasons--fresh food, no pesticides, support your local, etc--but John likes to feign heart attack when I tell him what I spent. Every week:). Luckily, we are able to grow a good-sized organic garden in our yard, so by mid-summer, we're overwhelmed with fabulous produce. What I would do for some of those tomatoes right now...
ROSEMARY: I'm a very inconsisitent shopper. I just took the $11 Megabus to Philadelphia where I stayed in a rather nice hotel because I love the bedding and they have their own chocolate factory so the chocolates on the pillows at night are amazing. Yes, I did fly to Paris for the weekend...and I spent most of the time wearing a pair of $13 pants from TJ Maxx. So there's no guessing what my purchasing habits are. I don't even know sometimes. What am I a sucker for...good haircuts. I've been known to go without for a year because I couldn't find a stylist I trusted - and you know what - my hair almost always looks the same no matter who cuts it.
DEB: I, too, am inconsistent. I suspect this makes us interesting, right, girls? And I seem to have the same weaknesses as everyone else. I'll buy cheap store brands of some things, but spend a fortune (gulp) at my town's farmer's market (And it opens this month!) I've always been a sucker for good, local, and organically grown food. I started shopping at Whole Foods Market when the first store opened in Dallas--I don't even want admit how long ago.
I'm addicted to a certain type of Toni & Guy shampoo (my excuse for this is that I'm allergic to many hair products, and having found one that works I'm sticking to it) and will pay for a good haircut. Like Hallie, I'm a bath taker, and am easily tempted by lovely things to go in the bath.
On the other hand, some of my favorite clothes came from Target and Costco. I consolidate errands to save a little bit of gas. I carefully plan menus to use leftovers.
JAN: Actually, I'm wearing a fleece I bought at Costco almost six years ago, that's still the best-cut, best looking Fleece I've ever seen (yes, there is a difference among Fleeces!) so I'm with you on the Costco clothes.(sometimes)
DEB: Silliest recent purchase? I ordered a new phone from Amazon, ridiculously cheap, and then a case for it that cost as much as the phone. And I was crushed when it arrived and instead of being the promised orchid color, it was hot raspberry pink. And the worst thing is that I really CARE . . .
HANK: Deb? Can you send it back? Let's see--yes, leftovers. I'm very proud about how I can disguise them. But I have lots of pairs of Wolford tights--hideously expensive, really embarrassing, but essentially indestructible. SO isn't that savvier? I also love Jo Malone grapefruit shower gel--don't even ask how much that costs. HOWEVER! There' also a lovely CVS drugstore brand shower get that's $1.99. It's terrific. And CVS tights, my secret find, $3.98-ish.
JAN: I could be a total sucker for the grapefruit shower gel -- what's the bottle look like? Oh, there it is!
HANK: What I'm not proud of? What makes me wince when I see it? An expensive-but-sort-of-on-sale suit that the salesperson told me fit perfectly, which it did, but it was a color I CANNOT wear, and even when I "tried it with black underneath" as she suggested, it still made my hair look green. You know, I NEVER wore it. And I gave it away. So I wouldn't have to be angry every time I saw it. Grr.
JAN: Hank, I've had a few of those outfits myself. And the really cool keyboard and cover accessory for the IPAD that I dreamed about for weeks -- has to go back. The teeny little keyboard will make me insane.
Come back tomorrow e for True Crime Tuesday, when I'm going to talk about the medical drug dealers (and I don't mean the pharmaceutical companies) who would be great villains for a murder mystery.
Wednesday, I'm interviewing essayist Ellen Waterston, whose latest book, Where the Crooked River Rises will transport you to the high desert in Oregon.
Thursday we will be hearing about Hallie Ephron's new book, Come and Find Me.