As I was getting my usual BuzzFeed fix (judge all you want, I’m really enjoying the “21 Things You Didn’t Realize You Needed from Amazon” lists), I was drawn to an article with the word “Ikea” in it.
I love Ikea. Despite never having bought nor assembled any furniture from the beloved Scandinavian home furnishing retailer, wandering around the room displays and eating Swedish meatballs to my heart’s content was one of the highlights of my trip to Toronto last summer.
The article, in short, placed a blue Ikea laundry bag side-by-side with a very similar-looking “luxury” Balenciaga bag like so:The selling price for the Ikea bag? A very reasonable 99 cents. Balenciaga’s “Arena Extra-Large Shopper Tote Bag”? $2,145, a.k.a. at least one month’s worth of paychecks or the bill for a small pet’s surgery.
I’d buy it….you know, to hold my diamonds in. Or my month’s supply of Whole Foods kombucha (because they’re about the same price).
I really don’t get it. Two bags that are similar in appearance, *maybe* made of similar material, and serve the same purpose, hauling dirty laundry to the washer.
I’ll hear stories of how X celebrity wore $1,000 flip flops to a beach, or how Kanye West’s cutting-edge fashion line—which, modeled on actual humans, looks like it’s made for Azkaban prisoners—sells items including but not limited to a holey sweatshirt for $2,000+. I can put holes in my clothing for free, so thanks but no thanks.
There’s also this golden donut going $1,200 for a dozen (which I’d sooner buy than Yeezy’s apparel), this 3,000 pound foil dress that will have the mothership calling you home in no time, or this $21,000 bedazzled chair.
It’s so mind-boggling to think that people will actually fork over wads of cash for an item just because it has a Mr. Prada or Louis’ name on it (or even if it doesn’t). It’s forking ridiculous. Like this single Ercuis Calypso fork on the market for $873.
But I realize I do the same thing with people, and I highly doubt I’m the only one.
We tend to treat people differently based on their labels. And by labels, I mean status, wealth, job title, how many followers, political views, religious views, relationship, haircut, etc.
In my current job, it’s sometimes a challenge not to feel obliged to feel intimidated by a person who a) doesn’t like something I said, or b) feels that they can sway me because they have more degrees, popularity, or figures in their salary.
And in the nature of my current position, I’ll on occasion witness grown adults who have the audacity to attribute characteristics to me that are sorely untrue, or use the spin factor to minimize the truth I’m trying to reveal (doesn’t the spin you use make you dizzy?).
And at points in my non-work life, I might have been made to feel like an Ikea bag by girls in relationships who sympathized me for my lack of one, or guys with insecurity problems who were intimidated by the fact that I had my education and career affairs squared away before they did. Or “more mature” folks who negate my worldviews based on my youth, or the super-adventurous milennials I know of who seemed so shocked that I couldn’t rely and Mom and Daddy’s trust fund to fund a gap year of sipping wine made from the grapes in my European boyfriend’s vineyard in the French countryside. Or that I don’t thrive at parties and often bring a book or notebook with me to them (Ok, I admit that last one might warrant some judgment).
I’ll occasionally look back at all the times I’ve been made to feel small and think to myself, “Why did I let this human specimen carry so much weight on my shoulders?” Eleanor Roosevelt once said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. Still, how long I let it fester after initial impact is up to me.
But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I’ve been guilty of the labeling too. Far more in my younger years than now, but that doesn’t make it go away. I’d catch myself feeling some sense of superiority if I had a slightly better test score than someone, or pride myself in NOT getting addicted to video games (which is a legitimate addiction).
In reality, we all carry the same dirty laundry, even if our bags are slapped with a label of “Ikea” or “Balenciaga.” It’s stupid to shell out more than $40 for a functional laundry bag (in my opinion), and it’s stupid to treat someone less than they deserve because of an irrelevant label.
I’ll never understand how the cost of a white cotton T-shirt can vary so greatly based on whether or not a celebrity was spotted wearing the brand, or if another famous person’s name is sewn on the tag. Why do we do this with people? Why is it ok to be hours late for a family function but not your date? Why do some sales clerks look down upon the shoppers who came into their store in their sweatpants? Why do some celebrities generally get one day of hard jail time instead of the 1+ year they probably deserve? Why do some dudes get super on the offense when their sister starts dating, but think it’s ok to sexually harass a woman?
Well, time to fetch my laundry, with my holey, worn-out college laundry bag that might survive three more loads.