The results of the "What is the most unsatisfying thing on which you regularly spend money?" question were interesting. In order:
- The winner, with seven votes, was some variant on "food". I guess a lot of you eat bad lunches. It's hard for me to think of money spent on food as unsatisfying, but that's because I am a big fat ape.
- Second place goes to "gasoline", with six votes. Okay, sure, it seems somewhat abstract, and it gets us involved in doomed wars in the middle east, but at least it's tangible, and you can also use it for purposes of arson.
- My pick, "insurance", came in third. This, to me, is the most deeply unsatisfying thing you can buy, worse even as a consumer purchase than toilet paper. It's totally intangible and you get basically nothing for it; at least with credit card debt you get all the stuff you bought in the first place, and with student loan payments you get an education and (theoretically) more job opportunities. With insurance, you get some diddly and a whole lot of shit. You have to pay it your whole life, and if you're lucky, you never get anything back. It's basically a legal form of gambling, with the insurance companies betting nothing bad will happen to you, and you betting that something bad will happen to you, so even when you win, you lose. Beyond that, it's rigged hugely in favor of the house, in a way that makes Vegas casinos look like spendthrifts; the game is so fixed that insurance -- which, despite its unsatisfying nature, is something that everyone who isn't rich should have -- is more likely to be denied you the more you actually need it. Worst of all, it's practically the only consumer purchase (in its automotive form) that you're actually required by the government to make.
- Getting two votes each were such things as comics (which, come on, fellas; comics are awesome, even when they suck, or your fanboy asses would be buying pogs instead), public transportation (which I understand, but think of all the exciting insane people you'd otherwise have no way of meeting), and parking (this is a great one, a good rival to insurance in terms of zero payback and no satisfaction; I'm surprised no one said "rent" or "mortgage payments", which to me are like parking in that you're being charged money merely to exist and/or occupy space).
- Answers I did not expect: "deodorant", "gym membership"/"Weight Watchers" (seems to me the obvious solution there is to just become an awful pig), "Pepto-Bismol", "toothpaste", and "hookers and blow" (come now! money spent on whores and coke is NEVER wasted). dreamweasel answered "property taxes"; this I can understand, because, much like auto taxes, it's paying multiple times for something you already bought, but on the other hand, saying so makes you sound like a capitalist roader. lester22 said "first dates", and I'm sure our hearts totally bleed for him. prettykate cited "shitty movies that I didn't think were going to be shitty". I'm glad she added the qualifier, because, being the moron that I am, I frequently and happily pay money to see movies I know are going to be shitty.