Sunday, May 1, 2011

WAF

The title should be familiar to all that have a significant other that, with a tssk of ridicule, watches from the other side of the room as you order YET ANOTHER knife, flashlight, bag, watch or gadget. It is a bit sexist, I realize, as there are quite a few women interested in EDC stuff (in fact, all of them, they just call it something different and store it in a purse). Nonetheless, the title--Wife Acceptance Factor--seems appropriate as relic of sexism that hopefully tips the reader off to the only semi-serious nature of this entry. The hope is to give you strategies on how to gain that most important of approvals, that of the financial manager of the relationship. In the process I hope to also highlight those ploys of the unsuccessful, in an effort to pass along ways to avoid futile pursuits and justifications.

NOTE: these apply to all sorts of things: EDC gear, home theater gear, tools, cars...you name it, these will work. You might have to tweak them a little, but they will work. Trust me.

AVOID

"This is the last one"

Seriously, if you have someone that you can call a wife or partner, they have been with you long enough to know that this is just not true. That donut is never the last one for the fat kid, and this next light is not your last one either. With age and time comes wisdom and I left this one behind a long, long time ago. This next gadget has about as much of chance being your last one as her next pair of shoes has at being HER last one. Also, don't think that by adding the phrase "I promise" or "I swear" will make a difference. It just makes you look foolish.

"I really need this"

This is a justification that never works, not because it is not true, but because usually it requires an explanation that no one other than another knife knut or flashaholic will understand. "Seriously, dear, my brightest light is ONLY 500 lumens. I really need one that is 1100 lumens." Wha?!?!?!?!

"Its the one I have always wanted"

This is sorta like the "last one" justification. Our problem isn't that we don't know what we want, it is that we want too many different things. So, unless this is truly the one you have always wanted and talked about, it is about as effective as the "last one" justification.

There is one caveat here, if you have worked on the significant other for a LONG time, it might work. This is a project of Roman proportion taking years not months, fellas. My wife, for example, knew that I had pined after my Haiku for ages. I talked about it whenever I could slip it in to a conversation (which is almost never, but I tried anyway: "Boy, it was dark out taking the trash to the curb, I sure could use a $500 flashlight"). At some point your Ralphie from A Christmas Story, tucking a Red Rider BB Gun ad into his mom's copy of Look magazine.

"Its going to be discontinued"

This is like threatening a baby with a tax audit--it just doesn't compute. I turn to my wife in a cold sweat and tell her that Spyderco has discontinued ANOTHER sprint run of the Michael Walker knife, this time with ZDP-189, and she just shrugs. There is a reason the word "Discontinued" is in red on the Spyderco page--it is the color of blood and PANIC. And yet my wife just doesn't seem to care. And then there is the painful retort: "Well, you should have saved up for it." Oh god, it can't be! This is MY fault?

"Mine broke"

This is almost always a lie or at least not a complete explanation. Something may have been damaged or scratched, but the gear we buy is usually so tough that it will last three life times. We may even be purposefully clumsy with our gear ("I don't know how it happened. I was just talking on my iPhone 3GS, with the window open, going 80 mph, and suddenly FEWWW it was gone."). In the event that the item is not actually destroyed, sometimes the significant other will ask to see it. You know that your in trouble when, in response to this request, you get both the item AND a magnifying glass.

"Its the one _________ uses"

Unless you are one of the (fill in the blank), this is not a good reason, in your wife's eyes for you to buy anything. "It is?" she may ask, probably baiting you. And then you say, eagerly, "Oh, yes. It is their official whatever." Then, without so much as a glance at you she says "Yes, but you work in an office all day and the most dangerous thing you do is stick your hand too far up the vending machine to get a free bag of Cheetos." Ugh.

"Its Nutnfancy's fault"

Unlike in cases of slander and libel, truth is not a defense. It probably IS Nutnfancy's fault. And I am sure your significant other, like mine, moans (not in a good way) when she hears his voice and fake whip crack coming from your computer's speakers. And then, before the video is over, she has hidden your wallet.

"Mine can't do ________"

This is a variation of the "I really need this" justification. You say with resignation and defeat usually reserved for a President exiting office under threat of impeachment "Mine can't light up the side of a house three miles away." "So," she replies without even looking up from her book. You say: "Well, okay, I will just make do with what I have." You THINK: "Well, if you don't understand how that is important, both in and of itself and to me as a person, I am not sure we should remain in this relationship." That thought is why divorce lawyers are not open 24 hours a day.

USE

Tit for Tat

Outside of a birthday or something else, the significant other, especially those that are the Legislative Branch to your Executive Branch (i.e. they control the money), doesn't see the need to spend on non-essentials ever. "Do you really need another bottle of orange juice?" Orange Juice! It is practically natural liquid vitamins? How can two bottles be too much?

So when you see her look wistfully at that new pocket book, you become the bad devil on her shoulder and say "That looks really nice. Go ahead and get it." There are two possible responses, one favorable and the other not.

Favorable: "Really? You think so? It is awfully nice."
Unfavorable: "You are not getting that new pocket knife. Nice try."

If you get the favorable response, it is best not push it. Wait a few days, not enough for her to forget, but enough to make it look innocent and then ask if you too can splurge a little.

"Its on sale"

If I were a sexist pig and this were a serious as opposed to semi-serious entry here is what I would have written:

S-A-L-E. The only four letter word women LIKE to hear.

But I am not a sexist pig, and in reality your wife is smarter than you are. She knows that EVENTUALLY your going to wear her down to a nub and she is just going to let you buy it. So, if it is actually on sale, not like free shipping or some bullshit like that, she will let you buy it. It stops you from driving her crazy AND it saves money. Like I said, she is smarter than you are.

"I have saved up for it"

If you have, in fact saved up for it, zealously and carefully saved money from birthdays and holidays, there is almost nothing that can undo the power of this argument. It is always nice to give the excess to the shared bank account.

"Remember when it saved us"

Your significant other isn't stupid. He or she chose you after all. So if you can point to a time when one of your gadgets actually saved the day, they'll listen. A few years ago, in December, we lost power for five days and everyone else struggled to stay in their homes or just left for a hotel. We stayed. We made a fire, kept it going all day, made food in our gas oven, and played Scrabble by the light of a Nitecore EX10. To this day my wife understands the value of a light that can tailstand and has a scalloped bezel.

"I need it to be safe"

Their not stupid AND they love you. If it will really make you safer, they will have probably already bought it for you.

"Its the _________ of __________"

For some significant others it may help to make an analogy. Maxpedition stuff is the Vera Bradley (that is the first, last, and only hyperlink from this blog to Vera Bradley, ever. I promise) of hard use packs. See, you convert it from jargon-y, marketing hype bullshit into another form of jargon-y, marketing hype bullshit.

Repeat after me:

McGizmos are the Chanel pocket books of the flashlight world.

Beware, this can, however, lead to a Reverse Tit for Tat. Actually, who cares? If you get a McGizmo and she gets a Chanel pocketbook, something tells me your BOTH happy. Broke, but happy.

4 comments:

  1. An amusing commentary! I justify my purchases as being a harmless vice that keeps me occupied. Other people spend just as much (or more) on things like smoking, drugs, gambling, etc. So long as I'm not overspending, a few flashlights/knives are harmless fun.

    Besides, my wife seems to be receive a lot of packages in the mail. I have a feeling she's spends more than I do... I think I'm the more 'responsible' one. =P

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  2. On my most recent grail purchase, a small Sebenza Insingo, I used the "This is the Last One" method. However I tagged on to the end "For this Year" and offered to sell three other knives to offset cost. Ughh, it's gonna be a long 2nd half of 2013.

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  3. Great post as always but you used "your" instead of "you're" three times and "their" instead of "they're" once.

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