Why I might spend a small fortune on a mop
Last night, my steam mop died. The metal attachment clips for the mopping pad had corroded, rendering everything beyond repair, which means that the Shark SteamVac is on its way to the household supplies graveyard and that I'm in the market for a new mop. As I began browsing the web and weighing my options, the idea of a purchasing a robotic mop came onto my radar. Would I dare? Could this ultra fancy high tech gadget make mopping--arguably my least favorite chore--more bearable?
If you told me five years ago that I would even entertain the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a single cleaning item, I would have said that you were crazy. But ever since Dan and I doled out $250 for our cordless vacuum cleaner, I have changed my perspective about when spending big money makes a difference. That $250 has bought me hours (that is not an exaggeration) of time, spared me endless frustration, and added to the cleanliness and comfort of our home, which, to my mind, makes the upfront investment more than worth it. You see, buying that thing bought me an experience--an experience of actually enjoying vacuuming.
A $250 bracelet would probably never bring me the same joy. I might wear such a bracelet often and smile when I clasp it around my wrist, but the pleasure would end with looking at the beautiful object. For me, objects I most value and thus am most willing to invest in are objects that free up my time to do the things I enjoy. The extent to which I can minimize cleaning or commuting or bill paying or all of the other little necessary nuisances that come with adult life, I will--and, I am learning, I am willing to pay for that luxury.
Recent studies tout the benefits of choosing to spend on experiences over things, and popular publications have taken this idea and run with it, arguing that while experiences offer lasting enjoyment, objects can only provide temporary fulfillment. The impulse is right-minded on many counts: younger American generations are recognizing how consumer-driven our culture is and thus are complicating the idea that money can buy happiness. But I am not so sure that the line of demarcation between experience and object is clear and well-defined. Well-crafted objects, like artisan goods, invite us into the makers' stories and create community and beauty in our world. An experience of watching a poorly executed film does little more than occupy two hours of our day. Maybe the question really is more about longevity, what will stick with us over the long haul.
I have learned that my decisions about whether or not a splurge is "worth it" ultimately boil down to the persistence test. If I'm seeking a lasting return (happiness) on my investment, I need to ask myself: Will this purchase make me happy one day from now? One month from now? One year from now? If the answer is yes, and we have room in our budget, I will usually pull the trigger, even if it seems silly or embarrassing to admit to everyone else (case in point: our vacuum), because it makes sense for my lifestyle.
Does the mop pass the test? I'm not sure yet. And did I really just write a whole blog post about a mop?
I'd leave to hear from you! Tell me about a time that you splurged. Was it worth it? And am I crazy to think about such a tricked-out mop?