‘Keeping Up Appearances’ Is A Bunch Of Bullsh*t.

I just finished reading an article over at CNN titled “Keeping up appearances in the credit crunch“. Are you kidding me? Seriously? This is what is wrong with this country and at least partially to blame for the situation we have found ourselves in. And some writer at CNN decides that now is a good time to write an article talking about “keeping up appearances” while the economy crumbles – like that is the most important thing to do right now when people are worried about buying groceries or retiring in 2009. Heaven forbid you cut back anything in these times!

The article states that instead of buying luxuries, you can just rent them – and still look like you are rolling on dough. Check out this gem:

No aspiring Paris Hilton would be seen dead without that ultimate fashion accessory, an over-pampered, fun-sized pooch. If you haven’t got the time or inclination to look after a dog full time, Flexpetz lets you rent a dog as and when you please. With branches in New York, L.A. and London, there’s clearly a demand for dog-sharing in these times of economic uncertainty — although with a monthly fee of $100, plus $45 for each day of doggy hire, the scheme isn’t exactly a credit-crunch buster.

If this article were a joke, I would be laughing right along with the author. But it’s not – and it’s a disturbing show of the mentality that got us into this mess to begin with. We have been “renting” on credit for a long time – and look what happened. Who the hell cares if your neighbor likes your car? Or if your dog is a certain breed? Or if your handbag has the letters “AX” on it? In economic good times, caring about this stuff is vapid and useless. In economic bad times it’s just plain stupid. But hey – at least my neighbors will think I’m cool, right?

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Comments (12)

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  1. Kimberly says:

    I read the article, and it doesn’t sound to me at all like the writer is advocating one should keep up appearances. If anything, it reads to me like a comment on the excesses we’ve seen in the past few years, and a comment that it’s hitting all types of people and situations. It’s kind of “wink wink” about it – that seems pretty clear.

    Even if it was advocating renting a luxury item, or even a dog, then perhaps it might be a better approach to commend the writer for advocating choosing a more financially responsible approach rather than going into debt.

    I know you don’t agree with keeping up appearances, and I’m not saying I do, but some people do, and I’m not sure it’s fair to judge every one of them broadly. If someone can afford to rent a nice handbag and it makes them happy, then so be it. Calling people “vapid and useless” out of hand doesn’t fit with the spirit I’ve seen in many of your posts. I’m a bit surprised.

  2. David – I share your outrage but I know of other PF bloggers I read who subscribe to the “keeping up appearances” theory, particularly as to cars. If anything is PF blogger malpractice, that’s it.

  3. David says:

    Yea, there are a lot of people who care way too much about what other people think of their car/house/clothes, etc!

  4. Emily says:

    Dog sharing!?!? Oh. My. God. I am a dog lover and dog rescuer, and that is just cruel and unusual! Dogs develop a strong sense of belonging with their pack, and it is traumatic for them to change residences and owners once, let alone frequently. That just makes me sick.

  5. I agree – it’s way off the mark.

    I’m afraid the days of cheap & easy credit are over, and this article is (to me) a pure sign of desperation for: 1) people who think possessions define who they are and 2) businesses who rely on people to spend more than they earn on frivolous amenities.

  6. David Y says:

    @Emily. That was my first thought too. Pets form attachments to their families. Getting passed around like that is cruel to them.

    Trying to keep up a false impression is dumb in the best of times. Doing it when things are tight is just plain stupid. I remember something I read once.

    When you are 20, you worry a lot about what others think of you.
    When you are 40, you worry less about what others think of you.
    When you are 60, you realize others aren’t really thinking about you very much.

    As I get close to 60, I find that last part is true. I do not spend too much time thinking about others may have. Other than to shake my head sometimes about them being in over their heads. I’m sure they do not spend much time thinking about me and what I have.

  7. plonkee says:

    I was lamenting the other day that being cool has somehow passed me by. My friend suggested that I could just declare 2009 the year of cool, and when deciding whether to do things instead of asking myself whether something was fun or not, just consider whether it was something a cool person would do.

    We agreed that would be a rubbish idea, and I’m just going to have to stick with being uncool.

  8. david says:

    Kimberly – the writer was talking about expensive sports cars, renting dogs & handbags, etc, so you could still look like you had money. Caring about that stuff while the economy collapses and people cannot buy groceries is vapid and useless. It was a dumb article in these economic times, and it was not “wink wink” at all. Check out the comments after the article itself on CNN – most people feel the same way and cannot believe it was even written.

  9. david says:

    David Y – I couldn’t agree more. The older I get, the more I realize no one cares about what I am wearing, etc. And if they do, that’s their problem!

    Plonkee – I thought I was cool when I had long hair and was in a band. Then I see a picture and realize how stupid I looked. Its much more fun being uncool. 🙂

  10. I’d like to think that the writer was at least in part trying to be satirical, with phrases like: “In other words, that ermine coat that hasn’t fitted since 1998 can start earning its keep, and with the money you make from renting it out you can impress your neighbors by coming home in a helicopter — rented, of course.”

    That being said, I think the piece is in poor taste and undeniably insensitive given the current economic climate when people are really struggling just to survive.

  11. Now that we can’t buy, we should rent – it sounds reasonable, until we’re talking about what we’re renting. A house, sure – shelter is a fundamental need – but a pet, like you say, that’s debatable. I agree that it’s ridiculous that we’re contemplating cutting down groceries for the Prada bag when it should be as clear, as the brand presence is, that we don’t need the Prada but we need to eat. Its disappointing to think how we have begun to prioritze things when it shouldn’t be so hard.

  12. FrugalSimple says:

    How much more superficial can this society get? This has got to be in the top ten most idiotic ideas I’ve ever heard. When there are MANY people facing true deprivation, someone’s worried about keeping up appearances???? Give me a break.