I recently read the book, The Overspent American, and it had an effect on me that, frankly, caught me by surprise. I get the whole media push for Americans to buy, buy, buy and I’ve been quite smug with myself knowing that I usually do not succumb to their multi-billion dollar advertisements. Until now.
It’s lipstick. And, specifically, the lipstick tube.
The book made it very clear that, although unbelievable differences in retail prices, women’s makeup is pretty much the same across the board. Not that I cared. At the time of my reading I was a mascara-only female. I simply am not interested in applying daily or even bi-weekly makeup. Not that I don’t want to look good. But, truly, I’d rather spend the time writing or working on a new lesson.
Then the work with MetroPCS presented itself. I took the job because it meant I got to spread the word about kids and money. Besides, I hate contracts and activation fees. And don’t get me started on overages! So it was an easy sell.
But that meant I was going to be doing the morning show circuit. And that meant people, real people…not kids, were actually going to see me. So I called my younger sister, who’s as girly-girly as it gets, and she sent me to the Mac counter at Nordstrom.
Hundreds (please don’t make me say the actual amount!), of dollars later, I was the proud owner of eyeliner pencils, eye shadow, this stuff that makes your eye lashes longer, skin smoothing cream, cover up, all kinds of brushes. It was a bit overwhelming. I had to call the girl who sold it all to me the next day because I forgot what to do with it all.
Then there was the lipstick. I usually buy lipstick every two years or so. And it’s usually when I’m picking up a prescription at the drug store. The tube that the lipstick was living in never registered in my mind. Until I read the book.
The author made a point to describe how women who are looking for some small way to save some money on makeup will buy most of their supplies at the drugstore (much cheaper!) but their lipstick must bear the marks of designer labels. After all, it’s really the only make-up that is exposed to others.
So I was happy to find that I liked the tube that the Mac lipstick came in. Next to the drugstore lipstick hiding at the bottom of my purse, there was no comparisson.
And now I find myself watching those around me when I pull out my Mac lipstick. Do you see my lipstick? Do you know that it’s from the Mac counter at Nordstrom? Do you know it’s expensive? Do you know I’m worth it? And I can afford it?
It’s the weirdest thing. I was never this way before. I was quite proud that I simply did not care whether or not I even wore makeup. And now I’m obsessed with my lipstick. Specifically, the lipstick tube.
Have I become like those ladies in the book who are unwilling to spend ridiculous amounts of money on makeup yet want others to think I do because I pull out a swanky lipstick tube?
In a way, I’m thankful that this has happened. I will begin working with 17-21 year olds soon. I want to be able to share this example with them because I think it will have more of an impact on them than the 7-year olds I’m used to working with! I think the most powerful lessons are those that tap into real life experiences. And I’m having a real-life experience succumbing to media pressure. Now I can relate. And that makes all the difference with young adults.
My lipstick has almost reached the metal rim. As of this writing, I’m not sure where my next tube will come from. But I have an idea. If I’m to make any impact on these “kids”, I’ll be making an additional purchase when I pick up Ryan’s allergy medication at the drug store. But putting out stocking-stuffer hints is not beyond me.