Yesterday, after Bill worked for a few hours, he came home and installed our new robotic lawnmower. I wrote a post about it on my travel blog, and am in the process of making a video of our dogs’ reactions to the new toy. Zane, in particular, was a bit freaked out by the robot. I was surprised Arran wasn’t more upset, since he used to go crazy whenever hot air balloons would land near our old house in Jettingen. But Arran actually got used to the new intruder quickly. Zane was still barking at it two hours after it started mowing.
I shared some raw video of the dogs on Facebook. Most of my friends were intrigued by the mower and asked questions. One person asked me what we paid for the robot. I knew that when I told him, he would make some comment about how much the robot cost. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
Our new toy wasn’t cheap. I paid 599 euros for it. I know very well that I could have gotten a push mower much cheaper. It might have been the better thing to do, too, since a push mower would take less time to accomplish that much hated task of cutting the grass. But the new robot is extremely quiet, runs on clean energy, and does a pretty good job. I hate cutting grass, so spending the money was worth it to me. Still, this guy felt he need to point out that for that price, he could cut my grass all summer long. But he lives in Texas and I am in Germany, so no, he couldn’t cut my grass for me. That job is mine, entirely.
I guess I can understand why some people might think a robotic lawnmower is a waste of money… however, it’s “our” money, dammit. If I want to spend a lot of cash on a lawnmower, why is it anyone else’s business? And why do people feel the need to make such comments, anyway?
This is a recurrent theme in my life. People question certain personal decisions I make, like when I buy new computers, cars, or lawnmowers. On my old blog, I used to write about a woman I referred to as Ms. Overly Helpful. Those were the days when I didn’t have a lot of readers and felt pretty safe in venting as I pleased on Blogger. Ms. Overly Helpful got on my last nerve, because she’d often offer unsolicited advice or opinions on things. And she’d do so in a way that implied that I needed or wanted her help, even though I’d already made my decision.
For instance, when I bought my very first iMac, she gave me a ration of shit about it, asking me if I’d done all I could to salvage the computer I was replacing. When we bought my Mini Cooper back in 2009, she asked if I’d considered buying a used car, because “they’re so much cheaper”. Duh. By the way, I still drive the Mini and it’s been paid off for years. Same thing with our Toyota RAV 4, which we bought brand new in 2006. I remember getting a shitty comment about that, too, because we had a high car payment. But we refinanced and paid that car off early, just as we did with the Mini.
Personally, I think it’s kind of rude to make comments about what other people spend their money on, particularly if you don’t know the other person offline. I’ve never met Ms. Overly Helpful offline, and never will, because she pissed me off so much a few years ago that I blocked her. The guy that made the comment today, likewise, is someone I don’t know offline. I ran into him on RfM. If I knew either of these people in the flesh, maybe I’d be more interested in their opinions on my buying choices. But I don’t know them, so their opinions about my purchases are meaningless.
I know at least one of my regular readers, someone I have met offline, would tell me to just ignore these folks. That’s easier to say than do. I think, thanks to having been raised by a control freak, overbearing, alcoholic father, I tend to have a “psychological sunburn” (to use a Dr. Phil-ism) about people who meddle in my affairs. In fact, another person’s meddling is one of the main reasons I moved my blog.
I am feeling a little bit bolder about directly telling people to mind their own business. I’m getting older and crankier and a lot less interested in what other people think. I suppose I could go all gangster and say this…
I totally admit that a robotic lawnmower is a ridiculously extravagant purchase. But if it’s not your money paying for it, then why not just say “Awesome” and be done with it? I don’t need to consult anyone about my money decisions. If I did, I’d pay someone who knows what they’re talking about. I don’t tell you what to spend your money on, so you should respect my choices on where to spend my money. I think of it as my way of stimulating the economy. Besides, the mower is paid for, anyway.
If I point this out, even if I do so politely, people get all shitty. It seems that in my case, I attract these folks who feel compelled to offer commentary on my choices. I used to have one “friend” who loved to pipe up on any thread about college. He didn’t go to college and managed to have a good career; therefore, he thinks college is a scam. And every time that topic came up on my Facebook page, he’d offer his thoughts on how college is a scam. He also made comments about buying cars and how he never buys them new. Obviously, that’s what everyone else should do, too. Finally, he got to the point of even annoying Bill with his “overly helpful” comments. Bill finally and pointedly told him to mind his own business. I had told him that many times myself, but it took a comment from laidback Bill to get him to read and heed.
I’ve found that the types of people who offer commentary on people’s purchases are also the type of people who “chime in” on topics without reading or understanding context. I really don’t like to unfriend people, but some folks make me so twitchy that I have to drop them for the sake of my own sanity. I did that a few years ago with this one clueless woman who kept offering her unsolicited advice and opinions on everything. This chick was especially irritating to me, because she’d often invoke her profession as a social worker– claiming to be my “friend”, but not realizing that I also have social work background. In fact, I got my MSW years before she got hers. Or she’d pipe up about military issues as if I’m ignorant about them, not realizing that I am the wife and daughter of military veterans. People like that aren’t really friends, are they? Real friends actually know something about their pals.
Anyway, the new robot is pretty cool. Our robot got started at about 5:00pm yesterday and the lawn was pretty high, so it wasn’t quite finished two hours later. Bill finished the last of the mowing with a weedwhacker. However, now that the lawn has been cut to a reasonable length, the robot can mow for a much shorter time a few times a week, thereby shortening the time needed to get the job done. It will probably get to the point at which keeping the grass cut will be something I don’t have to think about. Or… maybe I’ll get fed up with the time required by the robot and buy a push mower. They’re pretty cheap. The point is, it’s my choice and my money. Your input about my extravagant purchases isn’t necessarily valued or needed.