A dendritic response arcs across my brain, as a firing of emotional and processing centers make me think, “You know what would be nice?” It’s the beginning of a dangerous game for me; at times, that question begets rampant spending.
“You know what would be nice” is a phrase that envisions the bigger picture, better future, and more attractive self. It encapsulates my desire for nicer clothes, electronics, furniture, etc. I can see and feel how an iPhone 6 might complete my left pant pocket. The svelte thickness and aluminum texture captivate me in these moments.
“You know what would be nice” is the reason Ikea, Target, and other big-box retailers exist. They perfected the art of the ensemble. It wasn’t enough to get/have a couch; now, you needed the accoutrements. They suggest “what would be nice” and show you the pairing. Their catalogs and stores are expertly laid out to exemplify an orgiastic group of accessories.
A small rug could complement the dining room. That watch would make this outfit POP. This lamp shade would make my room cozier. This shirt would be great for a night out.
“You know what would be nice” is the dream hypothetical that only lives in marketers’ models. Realizing this is one of the most painful lessons in consumerism. No matter how many “nice” things I own, the question will continue to putz around my little mind — craving me to cave and spend.
I’m not sure when I started saying this phrase. It’s led to horrible spending habits at certain times in my life. And I’ve heard others, mouths agape, vomit this treacherous line, too. The reality and solution is far simpler.
All we need to do is change the desired answer — a détournement to the prescribed answer. “You know what would be nice?” To be content with who I am today, the things around me, and the life I lead. “You know what would be nice?” To quiet the racing mind that suggests I need anything consumeristic to complete me. “You know what would be nice?” To make purchases out of necessity and enjoyment, rather than compulsion and marketing pressure.