The end of my American summer is soon approaching, and the end of my American summer job is approaching even sooner. With only four days of waitering left and less than 10% of the sum of my loans saved, I started the day before yesterday intent on achieving the goal of not spending a dime for 24 hours.  I’d eat the employee meal between shifts and skip the green tea frappacino (how i wish they’d export this commodity to the holy land…it’d make up for a lot of wrongs in the region), and since I’d be working a double there would be no consumerist temptation awaiting me on the way home.

Thoughts of how I’d save a good ten bucks that day made my 95 degree walk to the bus stop slightly more pleasant, but the lack of funds on my metro card quickly dashed my dreams of frugality to smitherines…smitherines that I probably owe to some bank, and i’m not quite sure I even know what they are or if I spelled them right.

“Ok,” I thought to myself as i sat on a clean, cushy orange seat of my beloved dc metro, “transportation is a necessity, but no spending startingggg…now!”

I soon arrived at work, routinely opening my lock-less locker, where I’m not really supposed to leave anything over night, and reached in for the half of my uniform that i’m too inconvenienced to take with me after each shift. My shoes were missing. Now, if my shoes had been leather, or name brand, or even in one piece, I might have understood the logic: i had stupidly left them in a vulnerable position and they were consequently stolen either by a female coworker or by one of the central americanly short male members of the kitchen staff. But my poor shoes were in sorry shape, and i can more easily imagine someone tossing them in order to put them out of their misery. the soles were so worn down that my feet stood at an outward slant, the holes so large that my socks were instantly wet upon reaching any small puddle or spill. Their backs had been crudely removed with scissors from the host stand inbetween table visits because the ironic pain of the inflexible synthetic material’s tightness after trying to stuff in a would-be-comforting insole was unbearable.

My shoes were gone, and I was upset. Despite my suffering through weeks of constant foot pain to avoid spending $17 to replace my get-what-you-pay-for shoes, i was suddenly forced to do just that, only this time I’d need to cough up at least twice that much, and on my fourth to last day of work in the seven minutes left before the morning meeting too.  After informing the freshly but not uncommonly annoyed by me manager, I raced in my server uniform and bright pink metallic flats few blocks to the sporting goods store, where I snagged a pair of women’s black Reebok classics, then quickly unsnagged them realizing I could probably save a few by buying the same shoes from the boys section, and ran back to work just in time for the meeting.

I had wasted 35 unnecessary dollars, but now that I was fully prepared, there’d be no need for extra spending that day.  What I just wrote would have been a true statement if the employee meal hadn’t been unusually repulsive that day: chicken “pucks” and rice.  Rice being the only vegetarian option, and not a spectacularly nutritious one, I bought a salad.

Well, I tried…I suppose I succeeded in temporarily taming the compulsive, consumerist beast within, but it seems that my current environment makes accomplishing even one day of spending abstinence a non-option.

3 Responses to “Trying”

  1. Yahnatan Says:

    Bummer–nice try though. I bet in a couple more tries you could do it.

    On another note: the Smitherines would make a great band name.

  2. Robin Says:

    I have that problem too.

  3. lamar Says:

    it’s hard to save in bethesda. i would take frequent trips to the giant to get a cheap salad or cookies when i worked in the area. also, those shoes you described sound just like my cheap-o shoes from urban outfitters.

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