Consumer Circus


Fall is here in the Southeast and with that comes beautiful weather and the end of frequently oppressive summer heat.  Our AC units won’t get turned on until sometime in June 2014 or later if the weather cooperates as it did this year.  Our trusty box fans are migrating to the attic to hibernate after another hardworking season helping to minimize the use of air conditioning and keeping our electric bills in check.

Now that our son is older one of our favorite things to do is take him with us on bike rides around the neighborhood and beyond.  Cooler temperatures make it an exceptional way to enjoy the outdoors while getting some exercise in the process.

This past weekend we ventured out all the way to the mall to check out the new development that’s happening around in that area.  We are a little bit obsessed with the real estate and since this area is building up like crazy there is no shortage of construction sites to check out.  While we can’t help but feel sad looking at the trees coming down to make room for the little (actually huge) boxes, one thing that we do like is that most new developments come with sidewalks.  We use them to get around on bikes since bicycle infrastructure is non-existent on roads and there are very few pedestrians walking, since everyone is obsessed with cars.

As we were riding we remembered that there is a PetSmart on the way so we decided to stop by.  I can’t remember the last time we were there (even though we have a cat), but it’s a great place to go with your kids. We used our visit to pick up a parrot cage cover as gift for my newlywed cousin. Our son had a great time looking at all the birds, fish, hamsters and lizards that they had.  Once we got to the area where they had dogs it was game over – he is obsessed with them.

So while my son was checking out the puppies and practicing his best barking impressions, I noticed an interesting sign that was displayed in the pet grooming area. Take a look at the picture below.  Bret Michaels Rockin’ Top Dog (™) Package can be yours for only $18 with a purchase of a bath or groom!  For that $18 you get a signature Bret Michaels bandana AND a “cologne spritz” for your dog.


Now – we don’t have a dog, so maybe I don’t know what we are missing… But is this not the stupidest crap that you can spend your money on?  Are people doing this?  I mean, they must if there is such a product offering?  How bad can the economy be if we have these services? Do dogs enjoy “cologne spritz”?  How often would one do this?  $18 for basically a bandana?  Are bandanas back in style?  These were some of the thoughts in my head as I was staring at a smiling Bret Michaels and his red bandana-wig contraption.

I’m not gonna knock Bret Michaels for being associated with the promotion (but perhaps it does say something about where he is financially to agree to this).  What bothers me most is how someone will look at the ad and easily part with their 18 dollars while (statistically) living in debt, paying interest on everything from credit cards to automobile loans, never stopping to consider how that money could be used to reduce the leverage trap that is keeping them from achieving their dreams.

I bet if I asked a person about to swipe a credit card at PetSmart “What are your dreams?”, they would say things like “I want to work less, spend more time with my family, travel more, have money in the bank…”  Yet telling them that it all starts with NOT spending on things like this fabulous Rockin’ Top Dog (™) package will only result in blank stares and “it’s only $18, man!” replies.

And so the Consumer Circus marches one.  Are you part of the troupe or a spectator watching in disbelief?

4 thoughts on “Consumer Circus

  1. Heh heh, that’s hilarious. I’d never pay for pet grooming, but I’m cheap. I’m sure there are people out there that happily pay for this kind of things. That’s why everyone is in debt.

    • My sister has a poodle and they took it for a haircut a couple of times to the tune of over $100 each. Luckily, she quickly figured out that spending a little bit up front on a quality buzzer and learning to do it herself is much better than throwing so much cash away every couple of months. The amount of money people spend on their pets in this country is mind boggling.

  2. Although I can’t imagine paying for the Bret Michaels package (or anything Bret Michaels for that matter), my wife used to pay for grooming services when we had a dog. Spending money on that stuff used to drive me nuts. Now that our dog is deceased, we have no more pet expenses. That’s a spending category that will remain blissfully at zero for the duration of my days.

    • We have a cat and he is costing us about $30 per month on average between the food, litter and the vet. For me, that’s about as much as I would ever want to spend on a pet per month. Dogs are more expensive and a lot more work, plus picking up their #2s on the street is not something I would ever want to do, so no dogs for us. But if for some reason that changed and we did get a dog, I can guarantee that it would never get any professional grooming. I would probably watch some YouTube videos and insource that as well!

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