Monday, September 23, 2019

I Asked for a Shirt but Only Got the Shi_t

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

I’ve been buying a lot of clothes from L.L.Bean lately.

Some people might imagine that to do this I must “have money.”

Well, I do—it’s not like I’m stealing the clothes.

But money isn’t something I have much of.

Ten years ago I left my stable job (you know, a job that was dependable and reasonably paying, not one with horses) to try my hand at “my own thing.” This mostly collapsed and a couple years later I dropped into a dark night of the soul that included joblessness, zero savings, and a long-term health crisis that I’ve been working to resolve ever since.

Not much room to make an income under these conditions.

All the while, being a person of self-inquiry and self-discovery, I’ve gained a few insights about myself and, in consequence, about other people and the world at large in terms of self-worth and having and spending money.

Benny’s Is Qualitatively Challenged

I used to shop at “Benny’s.”

Benny’s is fictitious, but the commentary not.

If you don’t know, Benny’s is a department store where things are usually on sale for anywhere between 20% and 70% off and, if you’re a member, you get a bi-weekly or monthly mailer giving you up to an additional 30% off, plus for every $50 you spend you get another $10 of in-store cash to use on a later purchase.

I shopped at Benny’s for years, and I would say that the clothes were at least decent up until, perhaps, ten years ago. For around this time it seemed that every damn piece of clothes I would pick up, and occasionally buy without noticing or thinking it would cause me so much annoyance later on, had something wrong with it.

One sleeve of a long-sleeve tee shirt would be two inches shorter than another. The seam of a shirt that began at the armpit would strike a curve and end four inches toward the back bottom. Shirts would feel twisted when worn. Jean denim was thin and would wear out with a quickness.

Why, Oh, Why?

Surely I’m not the only one this has happened to.

By all means, yes, my troubles were primarily at a time when Life wanted me to move on and seek a higher and better path. So I totally understand if when thinking I was buying a shirt I “just happened” to only ever get the shit.

But, c’mon. Low quality is low quality. Maybe I hit on the worst of it, but people must be buying this stuff all the time.

If I can shop at L.L.Bean (and similar stores) that sells their clothes (at least what I buy) for basically the same MSRP as Benny’s sells theirs—but at 3x the quality—while also regularly running significant sales (e.g.: 40% off, free shipping over $75, etc.) on their full-priced inventory, why would I want to shop at a place such as Benny’s?

Why would anybody want to?

Maybe because people don’t know of stores such as L.L.Bean, maybe because they want to buy Ralph Lauren products or graphic tees, or maybe they like the variety offered by a department store all in one location.

On one hand, these may be legitimate answers. On the other hand, a great deal of what is sold is low-quality, imported garbage and people know it.

What, then, keeps many people going back?

The answer is 2-fold:
  1. People subconsciously believe that they’re worthless, that they’re unworthy of more money and better clothes (and other belongings), and
  2. People are unhappy.

Feeling Bad Feels So Good

Whatever we feel or believe or fear internally, we express externally.

Sometimes we can cover these things up fairly well, at least temporarily, but in some way or other how we live is a mirror of what is going on internally.

When people feel unworthy within, in an attempt to prove to themselves that this worthlessness isn’t so, many of them spend money since money and what is acquired when spending it is perceived to be an external symbol of self-worth.

To make matters worse, people are unhappy. And what commonly makes people happy (at least for 14 seconds) is spending money, buying stuff.

Furthering this predicament, people mistakenly imagine that they can resolve their internal discomforts by doing externally escapist things.

People are not therefore of the mindset that,
If I save my money for a few months, I can go to buy that $800 pair of Gucci shoes. Imagine how good I’d feel with those on. Imagine what all my friends would say. I could buy those shoes, feel good, and then be satisfied for a few more months.
Instead, people are of the subconscious mindset:
I’m unhappy and believe myself to be worthless.

This is a chronic issue and I know that buying a pair of $800 Gucci shoes will only make me happy to the extent that other people compliment me on them. Since compliments will be limited and unsatisfying, it won’t be long at all before I’ll want to buy something else to quell my inner dis-ease—but won't have the money.

I therefore choose to shop where I can buy a bunch of cheap-ass, poorly made shit that I’ll be disappointed with, will complain about, and may have to return.

If I return it, then I can get the double whammy of goodness of feeling good about both getting money back and then immediately spending that money once again.

Since I buy low-price items, the cycle can go on and on—internally and externally.

I will keep pretending I don’t have the money for better clothes and other belongings, but, truth is, I just don’t want to feel the internal discomfort that will arise if I spend a few dollars more on quality stuff. If I’m satisfied with what I get and don’t have to replace it for a year or ten, I don’t have a reason to spend more money and won’t be able to provide proof to myself that I’m not worthless, nor will I be able to get regular endorphin highs.

The Receipt

Next, consider this:

Let’s suppose you were to buy $1000 MSRP worth of merchandise at Benny’s.

To start, there’s a good chance you’d get, roughly, 40% off what you buy simply because it’s already on sale. As a card-carrying member, you’d get an upwards of an additional 30% off after that because you got the mailer coupon, and then you’d have, let’s pretend, $50 of in-store cash to redeem that you were rewarded from previous purchases.

$1000 x .60 (or 40% off) = $600
$600 x .70 (or 30% off) = $420
$420 - $50 = $370

Your receipt would show a grand total of $370 and then say: Today you saved: $630.

Every item would be listed there at full price minus all the discounts, which would be tallied at the end, as though you’d bought some quality stuff at discounted prices rather than a load of child-slave-fabricated shit from the Far East that was heavily marked up and then discounted to what its MSRP should have been initially (which is probably somewhere in the single digits).


In order to market effectively marketers must know what drives the people they’re looking to sell to.

Here, not only is this knowledge available, they actually target peoples’ most base, distorted, and unconscious urges and make no qualms about using psychology-based behavior manipulation—commonly referred to as brainwashing.

As screwed up as this is, the marketing must be working to adequately condition the masses because the marketing hasn’t changed for years and Benny’s manages to stay afloat even as their competing anchor stores die off.

Worth Begins Internally

Ultimately, choosing quality has little-to-nothing to do with “having money.”

Choosing quality is about seeing yourself as worthy of it within.

And in seeing, not only do you become aware of your own deeper truths and needs, but you awaken to the manipulation around you and become much more capable of either choosing differently or consciously choosing the same.

Moreover, you find that you actually have more money, even when you have less, because you spend it in wiser ways.

The folks going to Benny’s (and other such cheapo places) have so much more money than they know. It’s only because they want to claim unworthiness and be unhappy and allow themselves to be manipulated that they keep on spending themselves into poverty and the perception thereof.

The Song Remains the Same

It seems to me that, whatever the financial topic, the same can be said about it.

What do you really want?

Do you want quality and satisfaction, or do you want poverty and misery?

People so often say, for example, “I can’t afford organic food. It’s too expensive.”

But they’re going out to eat all the time, they eat processed food and don’t exercise, and they’re therefore chronically sick and regularly paying for medical bills and such.

If people would stop choosing the path of the victim they’d have more than enough money to buy organic food and they’d be far healthier and happier.

They might well even have money left over to save or to put toward other wants and needs.


Wherever the finger might be pointed in blame at the distorted ways of the world, the finger is always ultimately pointing back at the one who is pointing.

The problem at hand is a personal, internal one.

If you abide by the programming and behavior discussed here, the task is fully on you to make the change if you truly don’t want it anymore. Otherwise you’ll stay right where you are.

That’s one of the wonders of this Earthly experience of duality: We can have whatever we want.

If we want poverty and misery, we will draw circumstances into our lives in which we will be aided in bringing about those wretched conditions. If we want prosperity, abundance, and satisfaction, we will draw circumstances into our lives in which we will be aided in bringing about those wonderful conditions.

Whatever we may want, dark or light, painful or pleasurable, Life will place itself at our service; people, places, things, and situations will come into our lives to provide for our desires.

In this way, Life takes very good care of us.

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet learned to take very good care of ourselves.

As our mouths say, “shirt,” our subconscious screams, “SHIT!”

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