Abundance, Wealth, and Shampoo

1727264-The-rich-and-famous-and-their-toys-0For a long time now I’ve been greatly puzzled by a major worldwide industry: Services and products that cater to really, really rich people.

I understand why these industries exist: If people are willing to pay for something, that something becomes a viable business. I’m talking about $10,000-night hotel rooms, private airplanes, super expensive watches, designer clothing, art, etc.

The part that confuses me is the fact that anyone–even the super rich–would choose to spend their money in this way. At what point in your accumulation of wealth do you say, “You know, I don’t need to fly first class anymore–I’d rather just spend the extra $5,000 to charter my own flight”?

I think I solved this mystery in the shower today.

For a few weeks now, my shampoo has been running low. I did the hard shake method for a while to get more out, and then I resorted to storing it upside down to get every little bit out. I even started using less and less shampoo to make it last as long as possible.

But it finally ran out, and I bought a new bottle a few days ago.

Today when I got in the shower, I squirted some shampoo in my hand to wash my hair. Because the bottle is so full, a ton of shampoo came out–way more than I needed. Some even feel on the shower floor.

My immediate subconscious reaction was: No big deal. I have plenty.

Fortunately my conscious brain was paying attention, pointing out that just days ago I had been squeezing every last ounce of the bottle, carefully dispensing it as to not waste a single drop.

Suddenly I got it: When you’re on a budget, you’re aware of every single dollar, and you stretch it as far as it can go. But as soon as you have more than you need, that attitude completely changes. That’s why many people spend a lot of money on payday or when they get their Christmas bonus–they feel rich.

And if you actually are rich, you might feel that way all the time. I’m not saying all rich people are like that. But it’s certainly a lot easier to spend money when you have it. When you have lots of it, even though it makes no sense to stay at the $10,000 hotel room instead of the still-very-nice $1,000 hotel room, you do it. Because there’s still plenty of shampoo in the bottle–and it’s a big bottle.

Logically you could have explained this to me and I probably wouldn’t have understood. But when I dispensed the shampoo today, I really got it. It made sense. It doesn’t mean I intend to buy $5,000 cashmere cat sweaters if I ever get rich, though. I’ll just try to buy small bottles of shampoo to remind me of how quickly that bottle can empty.