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Confessions Of A Price Tag Teller

Updated on July 16, 2010


I have one of the most annoying habits ever. When anyone gives me a compliment on what I’m wearing or what I smell like or how my hair is for some unknown reason I immediately tell them how much it cost. That’s right, if you were to say, “Wow, you smell good today.” First I would say, “Too much cologne?” as I made a cringey sort or face waiting for your reaction and then I would say, “It’s Hermes, whatever their newest one is, it was over $100 at Nordstrom but I found it online for something like $60.” Immediately I regret the words that came out of my mouth. I know in my head (too late) that the proper response is “Thank you.” And yet time and time again I feel the need, no it just sort of involuntarily happens, that I blurt out the price and a bunch of additional information that no one could care less about the item. Arghhh! Confessions of a price tag teller – Don’t Get Me Started!

I am truly trying to be conscious of this behavior and change it because I know that when other people do it to me I always just feel, well a little bad for them. That’s right, all of my extensive years of reading one third of one self help book tells me that by giving the price when someone compliments you it is subconsciously sending the message that you don’t think you deserve something that is whatever the price of the item is. While the Jewish part of me would think that getting cologne at a cheaper price is just good Jewry! That’s right, I’m conflicted.

I know it’s all coming from a good place inside me. I guess the thought that runs through my head when someone asks about something I’m wearing is that they are looking to get it for themselves. Maybe that’s why I over-information them? True, I don’t really want to see myself coming and going (as they used to say in 1940’s movies about women wearing the same dress and running into one another about the town) but at the same time I am by nature a care giver so I think I’m doing it to save them the trouble of going to more than one store to find the item. Perhaps I need to create an “app” for my iPhone that allows me to just plug into the retailers in the area who have the items I’m wearing and then somehow magically beam it to anyone that asks about it. “Oh, this shirt, let me see (he feverishly tries to get his iPhone screen to light and begins pushing buttons) Yes, there’s one more at the Banana Republic on Rampart in your size and the sales person, Rudolpho is holding it for you under you name.” That’s how I see it in my head but I’ve begun to realize that to everyone else it just seems well, here we go, needy, low self-esteem, uncomfortable.

While I think I’m giving out useful information, the people I’m telling are probably just making conversation. So it makes me look like, “Oh this shirt? I didn’t spend a lot of money on it because you know I don’t deserve nice things, so I waited and got it on sale and probably still paid too much for what I’m worth but you can see it has a tiny hole over the shoulder so it’s still damaged goods like me and I wouldn’t want you to think that I think I’m really better than you by thinking that it’s an actual Gucci, it’s a Guchchi which is a knock off of a knock off but I still think it looks okay, do you?”  Oh dear God, is that not the most exhausting stream of subconciousness ever??? Is it any wonder I don’t sleep at night?

The thing is that in my waking more sane hours of the day I don’t really think I’m not worthy of having nice things and I don’t know that’s the real reason I tell everyone the price of everything I own. If I had only really expensive things I guess people might think that I’m bragging but that’s not usually the case. Usually when people do ask me about things I have that are worth greater value I tend to clam up about it. I have a pair of $400 sunglasses, there I’ve admitted it. And I haven’t worn them in months and months. But I only got them because someone gave me a gift card and I had to get something and everything else in the store was so far out of my price range so why not get something a little extravagant but that lasts instead of that pair of Capri leather pants by a designer I can’t pronounce and will be out of style by the time I get them off the showroom floor? Curses, I’ve done it again.

Look I know I have a problem. Hell, I know I have a lot of problems but isn’t it all our little problems or “idiosyncrasies” that make us who we are? Or am I just rationalizing irrational behavior? Oy, I don’t know. I’m too exhausted to think about this anymore. I’ll just sit back, relax and drink my coffee. Which I got at Starbucks but I only got a tall and I ask for two shots and a pump or vanilla with a splash of soy and that way it’s much cheaper than a latte but it still tastes good. I know, more than you needed to know. Confessions of a price tag teller – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      I'd like to tell you the price of my gratitude but for once I'm going to keep it to a simple, "Thank you for reading and commenting!"

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 7 years ago

      Great Scott!!

      I had never even thought about that!! I do it all the time!!

      For me, I think I take pride in being an 'informed consumer!!'

      As a former accountant I learned all too well, 'it's not how much you make, it's how much you get to keep!!'

      I'd like to think since my bargain-skills took years to hone when I share them with others it is like giving a small gift!!

      In reality, the quality of what I wear sometimes seems to intimidate others - and that's the last thing I want!! By saying, 'oh I got this at Goodwill' (which I only say if true!!) it seems to relax the other person!!

      Great thing to ponder today!! Thanks Scott!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Why do we do that? It does sound stupid, but I do it all the time. And in certain circles, when I tell them I got the beautiful shirt at Good Will for $3.60 at Good Will on Senior Discount Day, they are not impressed.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      I really don't think telling the prices of what you're wearing is gonna make the conversation run smooth. You're right, and you know it--the right response to a compliment is, "Thank you!"...then silence! You'd be surprised how much better that subsequent silence draws other people out so you don't have to guess what they're thinking...(sometimes incorrectly). Believe me, they thought you were worth it or they wouldn't have given you a compliment in the first place. Take it easy--you're fine, you're a great guy and really do deserve every nice thing you possess.

      Also, PS--a bargain is smart shopping and I don't think of it as "Jewry", just as getting the best for the least, which we'd all like to do, all the time.

      Ease up on yourself, Scott, you're a great guy.

    • gqgirl profile image

      Sabrae 7 years ago from Georgia

      I liked the part where you stated you should just make an app and start informing people where to get it! You could totally charge for that kind of information! :) I don't see a price tag teller as a person with low self esteem. I actually enjoy it when someone I compliment tells me the price. And if it's something in the $100 range I just know I'll never be able to afford it (unless they did find it cheaper somewhere else).

    • rgarnett profile image

      Rachael Fields 7 years ago from KC, MO

      I had never really thought about the fact that I tell people the price of things too. I never thought of it as having low self-esteem or anything. I think its a habit that a lot of people have. LOL. This was quite a funny look at the habit though. :)