Today I want to talk about snobbery. I’m not sure if this is a hot button for anyone, but here goes…oh, and pardon my language because I just read through this post and realised I was getting angrier as time went by…
Let me give you some background on me so you can see who I am and where I’m coming from. To be totally honest, I’ve been shit poor most of my life (no need to break out the violins, it is what it is). As I’ve said before on my Sarah Masters blog, I’m not one of those authors who make money from what I do. My royalties are sometimes so small I have to laugh. We exist on my husband’s wages and live week to week. I could go out to work, but my husband wants me to live my dream, and I love him to death for it. I can afford to pay all my bills and eat, but we don’t go on holiday/vacation, go out for meals, have take-aways, stuff like that. I know how to stretch the pounds and always hunt out a good bargain. However, I don’t “look” poor. There are plenty of places here in the UK to buy cheaper goods when you’re on a tight budget—and man, I’ve been on damn tight budgets—so there’s no excuse to look dirty or destitute.
Do I sound snobby? I hope not, because I’ve been worrying lately that deep down I’m a snob, and I’m about to rail over them and would hate to think of myself as “one of them”.
I don’t know if it’s the same for other places in the world, but here in Britain our supermarkets have their own brands but also a brand where they use minimal packaging with no fancy labels to enable people on low budgets to afford things. For instance, a 500g bar of white chocolate will cost you 25p as opposed to a brand name that will set you back £1.69. Yes, big difference. Now, when these brands first came out, people were reticent to buy them because the packaging is, quite frankly, damn ugly, and if you had the “value” brand in your trolley, God, you were someone to avoid. You were poor, you were wretched, and you FELT wretched if you were caught with these brands in your trolley by someone you knew. Now, with the economy decline, and that fact that people have accepted that yes, the packaging is shit but the inside isn’t half bad, you don’t get stared at quite so violently if you’re buying those brands. You do still get people staring at your trolley/cart in horror sometimes, but my motto now is: Eff you, dear. I’m buying it because I HAVE to in order to feed my children. I’ll do what I have to every damn time I come in here if it means filling my kids’ bellies. If you have the top brands in your trolley, God bless you and I honestly hope you enjoy them, but I don’t have that luxury, so stick your snobby nose up your arse and mind your business.
I don’t buy all my shopping in these brands, just stuff like toilet rolls, bread, shit that’s ridiculously expensive otherwise, and to be frank, even if I had a lot of money I’d still buy those things. I don’t really buy named brands either, just the shop brands most of the time, although I will admit to buying a good laundry detergent.
Now, I don’t begrudge anyone who has money. I don’t expect them not to tell me what they’ve bought because I can’t afford the same. I’m genuinely pleased when I hear what people have bought because it’s not their fault they have more money than me. BUT I don’t like it when people think designer brands are all there is in the world and if you don’t have them you’re not worthy. I don’t like being made to feel I’m beneath someone else just because they’re dressed head to toe in Prada and stink of the most expensive perfume on the planet. I don’t like being made to feel that because I don’t get a manicure every week, have my hair cut every six weeks, and I don’t live in a super-sized house with fancy cars inside a double garage that I’m a piece of shit.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scabby old tart. If you came into my house you’d think I was comfortable, but the expensive items in my house were bought with the monetary gifts from my mother-in-law and everything else is paid for via credit—and I know some people who would frown at me for that too. Eww, you bought your sofa on credit and pay X amount for it every month… Yep, I bloody do, and it’s beautiful and I love sitting on it, thanks.
Also, I live in a village where I’d say 90% are affluent. My kids go to a school where some of the parents would have killed you by the looks you can get. They’re rich. They feel entitled to look at others that way. There are also some marvellous folks there, thank goodness, but many mothers have said that those select few who stare or turn their noses up make everyone feel so degraded. We don’t look any different, really, they wear casual clothes and whatnot too, but they seem to be able to sense whether you have money or not and whether you’re “worth” speaking to.
So now we come to the bit where I think I’m a snob. Bear in mind that the value brands I mentioned above cover every single item you might need. I think you can buy a bar of soap for about 10p, shower gel for 20p or whatever, deodorant for 35p, shampoo 50p, and laundry detergent for about £1. So why do some people, even though they’re on the breadline, look filthy and smell and say it’s because they can’t afford stuff? I always feel snobby because there is no damn excuse with the cheapness of that stuff where you can’t wash your body, hair and clothes. As for clothing, there are stores here where you can buy four pairs of socks for £1. Many, many items so cheap, and they aren’t nasty either. Trendy clothing etc. You can kit yourself out with several chop-and-change items for around £20.
I feel bad, but when I see people who lament they are poor and they’re talking to me about it as though I wouldn’t have a clue how it feels, it makes my damn blood boil. Okay, I must appear like I have money, but I sodding well DON’T, I just know what to spend my money on and how to make it stretch tighter than a taut bloody elastic band. Let’s face it, I’ve had enough practice!
Does anyone else feel this way? As in, don’t tell me you can’t afford to wash, all right? Don’t tell me you can’t scour the shops and find bargains, when I could take you out there right now and get a massive bang for your bloody buck.
As with yesterday’s post on manners and courtesy, is anyone else ARGHHHing with me today? Why do we need to wear Nike or whatever to be accepted? Why do we need to pay £100 for a pair of jeans when I can find a pair, brand-new, for £8 that look EXACTLY THE SAME except they don’t have a fecking fancy label on them. Are you going to come up to me when I’m wearing them, lift up my top, that prolly cost me £3 LOL, and say, “Eww, you’re wearing…a cheap pair!” said with venom and more than a hint of effed-if-I’m-speaking-to-YOU-again.
Don’t you like me for me? Don’t you think that my personality is worth more than the clothes I’m wearing, the house I live in, the car my husband drives?
This isn’t just limited to real life either. There is online snobbery that shocks the shite out of me. If you don’t write for so-and-so, you’re trash. If you write for so-and-so, you’re trash. If you have a free website, you’re trash. And pardon me here for a minute, but for me, I have the toss-up of paying out for a .com or buying one of my kids some shoes. Uh, which am I going to choose here. Hmm, let’s think… If your book has more than a few typos, you’re crap. If you messed up with a few dangling modifiers, you’re a pissy author. I could go on and on…
Now that I’ve got myself totally riled up, I’m stomping off to make a cuppa.
Have a nice day, folks!