Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Tax Return Came In: A Tale of Whims.

I have a philosophy when it comes to big purchases.


This morning when I woke up, I thought

"I'd very much like to bike to the grocery store instead of driving." 

Never mind the fact that I haven't biked in years and haven't owned a bike since I was about 14.

Roomie Katie had given me permission quite a while back to borrow her bike if I wanted to, so I found myself a bike lock, a helmet and went out to the garage in anticipation of biking.

Alas: Katie's bike has a flat tire. I was sad.

I went back inside,
checked my bank balance,
realized my tax return had been deposited,
Thought, "Well it's a great day to buy a bike,"
looked up the location of a bike shop,
and within an hour had a new baby:

Here she is in the backseat of my car:

And all reassembled:

Don't worry Dad, I put on a helmet before I went anywhere. 

I don't have a name for her yet, I'd love suggestions. She's a Trek 7.1 Fx.

So with a little delay, I got to do my grocery shopping by bike. I loved it. 


So what about that "big purchase" philosophy? Here's where the "tale of whims" really comes in. 

Here it is: 

Extensive research before making a purchase like this never makes you more satisfied with what you choose. 

(In fact, for me at least, I'm more likely to know too many pros/cons and never be happy with anything.)

Some examples:

1. My current computer: An HP TouchSmart tx2-1025dx Notebook. I bought it two years ago. The process went like this:
  Wake up. Think, "Gosh, I am sick of having to use the computers at school since my laptop's been dead for months. I'm going to buy a computer today." 
  Go to Best Buy.
  Test out their only tablet PC. 
  Haggle to waive the reshelving fee if I decide to return it (piece of cake). 
  Buy computer. I've never looked back; I love it. 

2. My current camera: pretty much exactly the same scenario. Even with Best Buy. It's a Nikon CoolPix P100, towards the nicer end of non-DSLR cameras. I do have "someday" plans of getting a DSLR, just not now.

3. My phone. It's an iphone 3G 8GB. 
   My phone was broken, so I took it to get fixed at the AT&T store.
   They told me that since it was the screen, they couldn't fix it.
   Then they told me I was eligible for an upgrade and asked if I wanted an iphone for $100.
   I said yes. I'm extremely happy with it. 

4. My bed. That was a great decision. You can read about that purchase here. The only reason it took me a couple weeks from decision to purchase was that I needed help to transport it. 

5. And bike. 

It's important for me to clarify something: checking reviews/doing research is not a bad idea. However, I've found that the market for things like this is pretty competitive, you get what you pay for, and multiple products at the same price point are really going to be mostly the same. 

Some people love the research process, but I'm not one of them. 

I used to spend ages and get all stressed that there were drawbacks to everything I liked and change my mind multiple times, and never feel satisfied with anything. Then, I just stopped. So if you're not one of those research-happy people, I'm telling you...I don't think it really makes a difference. 

Please, help me name my bike!