I am writing this post to alleviate guilt. I need to get $20 worth of ideas out of one soft, bean-shaped purple folly.
Straddling my clothes rack at home is a perfectly serviceable bargain-shop neck pillow. Purchased in 2011 for our Thailand trip, it has sat patiently gathering dust, waiting for our next trip.
And of course I forgot to bring it.
I wondered aloud how much a neck pillow would cost at the airport and Mattie quipped “As expensive as a neck pillow could be”. Of course he was right. If there’s anywhere that a consumer is ever going to pay a premium for a neck pillow, it’s at the airport: “Last Neck Pillows for 3000 Miles”. I deliberated over colours, baulked at the price – but in the end happily shelled out $20 for a purple neck pillow. That isn’t so bad in itself, but it was just one more over-inflated, impulse purchase in a string of over-inflated impulse purchases. All up I think I dropped $200 in various shops around Sydney airport. $16 watery laksa, $8 rancid fruit salad, $40 on plug adapters. The list goes on.
My first pang of buyers remorse came when I saw better neck pillows, trendier neck pillows that were two for twenty dollars. Two for twenty. Read it and weep, sucker.
I began to resent the neck pillow slightly when it became just another awkward thing to hold while juggling passports and boarding passes. My shame blossomed when I barely used it on the first 13 hour leg of our journey.
But the real kick in the guts came when I lost the neck pillow during our connection at LAX. Gone. $20 vaporised.
I’m finding it hard to let go of. There’s a special kind of stress that comes with wasting money. It’s some kind of psychic calculation that divides time spent working to earn the money, multiplied by all the other things you could have bought with the money, carry the guilt of being complicit in a culture of rampant consumerism and add $2.50 ATM charge. It messes with my mind. I have to write it out of my system.
So, the moral of the neck pillow?
Don’t buy one.