Anatomy of a Purchase

Last week I purchased a queen-size quilt for my daughter’s bed. I’ve decided to try to rate this purchase according to various factors, both nonconsumer and non-nonconsumer. I’m always able to justify a purchase one way or the other — I’m very good at rationalization. But I would like to put this purchase to the test and see if I really should have bought it. And maybe that will help with future purchasing decisions.

  1. Did she need a blanket?

Yeees. I guess. In a purely physical sense, no. There are other blankets in the house that I could have put on her bed that would probably keep her warm when combined with all the little throws and quilts she already has. Aesthetically, the bed absolutely needed a queen-sized blanket to cover the bed and to complete the look I was going for in her room redecoration. So since I have already invested scads of time and brain cells in redoing her room, I’m going to grant that I did “need” to get one last big blanket for her bed.

2. Could you have gotten an aesthetically pleasing queen-size blanket for free or very cheap anywhere?

Unlikely. I currently don’t have any gift cards that would have helped in this department. Based on what I’ve seen show up in the bedding departments of the thrift stores, I don’t think I would have found something there.

3. But shouldn’t you have been patient and waited for a gift card or a really good deal to come along?

Yes, I should have. But can you put a value on the feeling you get when a project is done? Heck, I’m not going to be able to afford to finish the rest of her room anytime soon, can’t I at least finish her bed?!?

4. OK, fine. Stop pouting. Did you at least use a coupon?

Heck yeah, I had a Macy’s coupon for 20% off, the blanket was already a “closeout,” and I remembered to use Ebates for 3% cash back. And I went and picked it up at Macy’s after buying it online, so I didn’t have to pay shipping. And I got Plenti points, and I earned Macy’s Money, which is a new program they have.

5. Macy’s? Who are you, the Queen of England? Shouldn’t you have tried Kohl’s or Target?

I suppose. The whole thing started because I received something from Macy’s in the mail about a sale on home furnishings.

6. Well, aren’t we suggestible.

[hangs head in shame]

7. Moving on… Where was this blanket made?

China, I just discovered, looking at the label.

8. Oh, that country known for championing human rights?

I hate you. Well, it’s too late to return it. I will try to do better next time.

9. It’s all about patience. I bet if you had waited, something better would have come along. And if you are determined to have it now and to spend money, why not buy it from someplace where you can find out more about who made it and its origins, or buy a handmade one on Etsy?

I did look at Etsy. They were very expensive.

10. Well, just saying. I looked online and it’s nearly impossible to tell anything about the origins of that quilt. Green America says: “Macy’s does have a supplier code of conduct to which it holds vendors accountable, but labor violations are still reported on a regular basis.” And, just to throw it out there, in 2009 the CEO of Macy’s made around $16 million, which is 484 times the median worker’s pay. [Here are some updated numbers for this man; in 2013, it was more like 275 times.]

Wow! Hmmm. I guess I could have tried harder to find a used one, maybe on eBay, or the Facebook yard sales. Even the thrift shops. I know that people are always getting rid of things that still have plenty of life left in them, because they are moving or upgrading their bed size or redecorating or what have you.

11. That’s the spirit!

Macys quilt screenshot

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