Shane and I are big time tea drinkers. We have a tea for every occasion in this house. We have a wake-me-up tea, a breakfast tea, a sore throat tea, a put-me-to-sleep tea, you name it. We also like experimenting with nw kinds of tea from time to time. There's a Whittard store on our way home from his office and every time we see a member of the staff offering free tea samples to taste, we never hesitate before trying it out. That's how I found out that The Whittard Mango Green Tea is pretty fucking amazing.
However, our go-to tea will always be a strong English Breakfast tea. If we ever start craving tea, chances are that we're craving this particular tea. It's our weekend special, it's our breakfast special, it's what makes us want to watch an extra episode of whatever it is that we're watching because "Hey, we need to finish drinking our tea anyway". So obviously, even though we stock up on the biggest packs of our favourite tea, we tend to run out of it pretty fast.
Recently, while we were at the store buying groceries and stocking up on our tea, I reached out for a giant pack of our usual brand. Right next to it sat an equally giant pack of the same tea but of a different brand that also cost exactly half as much as our go-to brand. I don't want to mention any brands here because they have nothing to do with the fact that Shane's dumb. I am too, but you'll see that he's dumber than me sometimes.
Right as I reached for said go-to brand of tea, Shane, who is not known for his stinginess exclaimed that the other brand was half the price and "shouldn't we be more adulty and save money and shit?"
That statement rang a bell with my middle-class sentiments and I immediately huffed and puffed at my carelessness and past extravagance. "OF COURSE, we need to save money on tea because we're adults now", I thought.
This is where I explain to you guys that neither of us has ever been very thrifty in the past. I almost used the word stingy there but that cannot even be applicable. I believe that "thrifty" is more of a positive way of saying that one is careful with one's spending, as opposed to "stingy" that often comes with a negative connotation. Growing up, Shane was lucky to have parents who were in a position to replace computer after computer in the house and office, just so that their son could play with them, break them sometimes, and fix them himself. I believe that the freedom they afforded him without ever bringing the cost of his "hobbies" into the equation is what fed his curiosity and made him proficient in his line of work. My parents were never in that position of excess but being an only daughter, I can say that there was never even a single thing that I needed, that my parents didn't provide for. I'm aware that sometimes they made sacrifices and put off buying fancy things for themselves, just so that I could have fancy items in my wardrobe. I realise all that now, but as a child, I may have taken those things for granted. In fact, I kind of feel ashamed to say that I've always been quite the spender. Even after I started earning for myself, my mom has had to remind me time and again, to maybe save some of my income.
Put the two of us together and on one hand, you will have someone who does not think twice before spending because "we can always make more but we can only live once" and on the other hand you will have me who loves spending but has typical Indian middle-class sentiments buried deep down somewhere, which often lead to guilt after an extravagant purchase. I would argue that I'm the more careful, the more thrifty one in our relationship and am often skeptical when Shane wants to dump a huge sum of money into a hobby. That's the only reason why I immediately listened when he stated that we might want to save money on...tea.
We felt mighty proud of ourselves that day because look a us! Adulting so much that we're thrifty even with our tea. We brought home the giant pack of our cheaper tea and together placed it on our tea shelf. The next morning, together we brewed our thrifty tea and together we took little sips from our cups. I noticed that it tasted different but continued watching TV with a confused smile on my face while Shane almost sprayed the tea out of his mouth and exclaimed that this was unacceptable. The cheap tea, according to him, was abysmal.
"But we bought the giant pack and now we can't splurge on the good tea because we're adulting, remember?", I said.
I was met with silence. The very next day, on his way home from work, he bought a giant pack of our go-to brand. When I saw what he'd done, my upper lip started twitching. Some frothing at the mouth may have followed. My middle-class sentiments were not happy in the least and every time I looked at the tea shelf, I was met with more guilt than pleasure.
There are two giant packs of the same tea sitting in there, and the only thing that really separates them is the packaging. I know for a fact that we won't be using up the cheap tea anymore because Shane simply will not have it. At the same time, we spent more on tea than we usually do because he's dumb. I can't explain how wrong this feels and I'm in a huuuuuuuge dilemma. Do I throw out the cheaper tea that we won't be using anyway? Do I have the cheap tea twice a day and finish it off while he has the good tea (that's so UNFAIR!)? Do I make him drink the cheap tea twice a day and finish it off while I drink the good tea (it still seems wasteful and unfair!)? Do I secretly feed him the cheap tea and hope that he doesn't notice? Or do I strap him to a chair and force-feed him till we run out of it?
This is what my life has come to. I can't believe I've spent hours obsessing about this to the extent that I typed out a 1100-word piece on it for this blog. That said, I'm still in a dilemma and can't bring my poor Indian middle-class self to throw out something that I paid money for. Do you relate? If so, what would you do if you were me? If not, I'm sure you're suppressing the urge to make fun of me but suppress not, my friend! I find myself ridiculous too.
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