What in the World Are We Whining About?

After looking at some of our posts since Baby Girl’s arrival, I’ve noticed that we can sometimes be a little whiny. And nobody likes a whiner. Despite a few annoyances (little sleep, rough work schedule, running out of bacon), everything is freaking awesome: Baby Girl is happy and healthy and an absolute boon to our Instagram feeds; we’re both getting paid to do the things we wanted to do coming out of college; we’re healthy; warmer weather is on the horizon.

In light of this attitude adjustment, I thought it’d be worth looking at some certain costs that often arouse groans and whines, and the reality of what we’re actually griping about. Ready? Ok.

Postage

“Stamps are $0.46 now?! Geez, they go up, like, every stinking year!”
Alright. Take that envelope you’re holding in your hands. What if I told you I could scramble the matter of that envelope into microscopic pieces, transmit them through a newfangled device, and have said device reassemble that exact letter anywhere in the US in just 36-48 hours. Freaking magic, right? Well guess what? We don’t even need that stupid device because THE POSTAL SERVICE ALREADY DOES THAT. And it costs you less than two. whole. quarters.

Water Bill

“I can’t believe the city charges us for water. Water!”
For the life of me, I can’t tell you where the water comes from when I turn on the faucet. I know I did field trips to water plants and sewage treatment plants as a kid, but it didn’t stick. But what I do know is that when I turn that thing on, clean water comes gushing forth like a jungle waterfall. And then that water goes down a little hole in my sink to another unknown destination for an unknown purpose. And to top it all off, I can actually tell my water to come out hot OR cold! How we’re not paying $2000 a month for this service is nothing short of magic.

Airfare

“$500! Guess I won’t be going to Hawaii this year.”
I’m going to hand this one off to Louis C.K.


Any questions?

Contact Lenses

“I hate having to pay for these stupid things every month.”
We are surrounded by mutants. We work with them, speak with them, and live with them. In fact, you might even be one. Like me. I wear contact lenses. And when wearing them, I have perfect vision. So hypothetically speaking, let’s just say such a magical, mutant power could be bought. What would you pay? $1,000? $10,000? $1,000,000? Maybe we should stop complaining about paying less than $10/pair.

Now this post isn’t to say you’ll never hear us complain about anything ever again. Nor does it mean that we’ll not stop looking for the best possible deal on everything. But sometimes it’s worth remembering just what we’re getting for a few measly dollars.

What other modern day costs would 19th century folks want to slap us in the face for complaining about?

41 Comments

  1. Rob
    February 19, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Running out of bacon? Sacre Bleu !!! My condolences from this Canuk. :-)

    Wanna trade post offices? You pay $0.46 – we pay $0.63 (with no Saturday delivery for years)
    How about airfare? We regularly drive into the U.S. to catch a break on cheaper airfares.
    Gas for the car? Again you’re cheaper but neither of us are in the price ranges of Europe.
    And so it goes, eh?

    And, as far as getting slapped by 19th century folks – yup, probably for stuff like central heating, a/c, corner super markets, and last but not least … beer stores !!! :-)

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 12:53 am

      Don’t get between a man and his bacon. :)

      Sounds like Canadians have a little room to whine. But you still got nothing on the 19th century folks, sorry.

      Reply

  2. Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin
    February 19, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I have contacts as well and am looking to get Lasik ASAP. I’m tired of the hassle, this way I can have permanent mutant powers ;-) Also not sure if you heard but not only are stamps going up but soon there won’t be mail on Saturdays!

    Reply

    • Newlyweds on a Budget
      February 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      I got eye surgery January of last year, and it was the BEST decision ever! I used my FSA account to help pay for it.

      Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 12:55 am

      Haha. Permanent mutant powers. I like it. And trust me, I’ve heard all about axed-Saturday delivery. That actually is a valid complaint since the USPS has had years to figure out how to fix their budget deficit and has yet to put a dent in it.

      Reply

  3. Grayson @ Debt Roundup
    February 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Your posts always make me laugh. I think older generations would hate for us to complain about air conditioning, which is close for my favorite invention. I love it, but don’t like paying the bill.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 12:59 am

      Good one! Even the word “air conditioning.” Can you imagine trying to explain that to someone who was born in the 19th century. “So what we do is we condition the air and change it to whatever temperature we want. When it’s hot outside, we change the air in our homes to be cold.” Can you even imagine the confused look on their faces? They’d probably call you a witch and jail you for heresy.

      Reply

  4. Laurie
    February 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

    You guys crack me up. :-). You never sound whiny, although I agree that 19th centurians would have to smack us around a bit if they heard us whining. Especially when it comes to food costs/convenience. Gee, we have to drive in our cars, go to the store, and drugdingly fill our carts up, walk them to the register, pack our own bags (gasp!) and then load them into said car and drive home! Let’s try trading places, when you had to wait for your own cow to grow up (roughly 2 years) and then slaughter the poor thing yourself. EEEWW!

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:02 am

      Haha. Your explanation is spot on. The HORROR of grocery shopping! Sometimes those old times seem like pretty good times. It’s funny that with all of our technological advances, I’m not at all convinced that we’re happier than them. And that’s kinda sad.

      Reply

  5. My Financial Independence Journey
    February 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Some things I complain about:

    Airfare annoys me because for some reason as the cost goes up, the quality of the service goes down.

    I complain about rent and utilities a lot, as I have no yet adapted to the substantially higher cost of living here.

    Internet service. The cost keeps going up, and yet the speed and quality doesn’t.

    Food inflation also bugs me. And I can’t stand these ever shrinking container sizes.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

      I think those are all valid complaints. And I’m sure you’ll hear us griping about all of those things on here from time to time. It’s just crazy to talk a step back and realize the fact that we have Internet or airfare at all is pretty freaking incredible.

      Reply

  6. Brian
    February 19, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Trash collection… the idea I can just put this can on the edge of my property and a magical truck comes by and removes it for me…

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:06 am

      That’s a really good one. And it’s amazing how quickly we forgot the magic and novelty of the service when they come too early before you can wheel out the recyclables. Like us today. :)

      Reply

  7. Chris
    February 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I had a similar experience this weekend when I was laying in my bed watching Machine Gun Preacher on Netflix. I was like, “Man, this guy is a jerk sometimes” then I remembered that I’m here in my comfy bed watching Netflix while he’s in Sudan saving children. I’m such a jerk. Great post, we all complain a little too much.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:16 am

      I just went to add the movie on Netflix (thanks for the suggestion) and I couldn’t get their site to load. Stupid internet and Netflix! ;)

      Reply

  8. John S @ Frugal Rules
    February 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I am with Grayson on this one. Not only am I confident that older generations would slap us silly for complaining but I am an A/C addict. I hate paying the bill, but it’s my crack…I “need” it. ;)

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:18 am

      Haha. I think I can live without A/C, it’s heat that I’m addicted to. I hate having to layer up in the house.

      Reply

  9. HappyFund
    February 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I don’t really complain about much, but my favorite one I hear from most people is whining about their outrageous cell phone bill. Dude, you have access to the internet on a device that you carry around with you everywhere you go. What?! You can also stream movies and play online video games on it? You mean it’s basically a computer small enough to hold in one hand? Ludicrous.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:20 am

      Ludicrous is right. And yet when I get my bill next month, I’m sure I’ll roll my eyes and wonder why it’s so high. It’s hard to remember just how amazing that little thing is. Just the GPS to get me from point A-to-B and reroute on the fly when I miss a turn is beyond incredible.

      Reply

  10. eemusings
    February 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I remember first seeing that CK video – still gold!

    I reluctantly agree on all counts. I JUST finished reading Mad Women (said to be a true female perspective of Mad Men times) and simply cannot fathom how they navigated business and life pre-fax, pre-computer, pre-cellphone, pre-TV as we know it. Also, apparently you could – at the time – get off jury duty simply for being a woman. WTF?

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Uhhh, that’s weird. I might have to check that book out. We LOVE Mad Men and since I work in advertising (and worked on Madison Avenue in NYC), I eat up anything that sheds some light on those crazy times.

      Reply

  11. jrm
    February 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Great post and so true. I work on environmental remediation and love your appreciation for water out of the faucet. The capital costs and maintenance of a public supply system are huge and even greater if something catastrophic happens (pumps break, sources become contaminated and can no longer be used).

    Mine is always the cost of rent but then I tell myself that I’d rather
    Pay rent then live outside in a box.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:25 am

      Part of the problem is our generation has never known differently. I guess I there was a short portion of my lifetime before AOL/Internet, but there’s not much that we haven’t had access to. Especially the “basics”, like clean, labor-free water or air travel.

      Reply

  12. Shannon @ The Heavy Purse
    February 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Ha! We are so spoiled. It can be hard to appreciate what you’ve always had. For me, it’s technology. A lost call or my internet is just a hare too slow (meaning the website didn’t load in less than a nanosecond) then I’ll grouse about how much I pay for this and it doesn’t work. Lame. I should be so fortunate!

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:28 am

      I’ve already cursed at our WiFi a few times tonight. Can you believe the electronic superbrain in my lap couldn’t find and connect to some invisible waves in the air right when I needed it to? The gall!

      Reply

  13. Newlyweds on a Budget
    February 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    i HAD to comment on this one (okay, I comment on pretty much every post), but since I work for a water utility, I figured I’m an expert : )
    I would just like to point out that a bottle of water from the store costs $1, whereas a GALLON of water from your water district usually costs about .0004 cents. (depending on where you live). And don’t even get me started on a comparison between a gallon of gasoline and a gallon of water.
    Water is seriously one of the country’s greatest bargains, considering only 1% of the world’s water is drinkable…now if we start talking about supply and demand….well, you get the idea.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:31 am

      Expert in the house! That statistic is mind blowing. Both in the sense that it’s CRAZY how cheap public water and CRAZY how expensive bottled water is. And that 1% statistic is just too much to comprehend. It would probably do us all well to have our water supply turned off for a few days just to appreciate it all.

      Reply

  14. Kim@Eyesonthedollar
    February 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Can I please recruit you to stand in my office and say those exact same words to anyone who complains about paying for contacts? If we were back in the caveman days, all of us nearsighted people would probably be dead, so don’t complain about something that costs less than what you buy at the convenience store in a month. I also agree with Brian and the trash removal service. I would never complain about that or the plumber who comes when your toilet is backed up. Priceless.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:33 am

      Hah! I could probably afford to lecture myself when I finish up at the optometrist. :) But seriously, it blows my mind that perfect vision is a reality for just a few bucks a month.

      Reply

  15. Jeremy
    February 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Haha! Nice article. I will have to pull some of these defenses out when people are whining. Especially the Louis C.K. one. You guys just went up a couple notches after posting that–I love Louis C.K.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:37 am

      Haha. He’s a funny dude. And in this case, he made most of the civilized world feel like complete chumps, which is no easy task.

      Reply

  16. KK @ Student Debt Survivor
    February 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    The stamp one cracked me up, because it’s so true. As for the water bill, I’m just thankful to have clean drinkable water that comes out of my facet. So many people around the world don’t have access to clean water.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:50 am

      It’s worth remembering at least once or twice a month how lucky we have it. I’d love to make more of an effort to make it a daily remembrance but it’s so easy to get caught up in our little tech-savvy lives. So here’s to trying to be more grateful.

      Reply

  17. Michelle
    February 20, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Damn stamps! At least they’re FOREVER. A similar post will be on my site in a couple of weeks. But, it’s about Secular Lent and giving up complaining. It has been…challenging. Is that a statement or complaint? LOL.

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 20, 2013 at 1:52 am

      Haha. You’re good. Even if it was a complaint, I’ll keep it between you and me. That’s a great goal though. Complaining is so easy to get in the habit of doing. Look forward to reading your post and hearing your progress.

      Reply

  18. Sharon
    February 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    LOVED this post! Laughed outloud with the airplane ‘skit’. It’s just so true! :)!

    Reply

    • Johnny
      February 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks, Sharon! That skit is always good for a laugh. And then I realize I’m one of the jerks he’s referring to in his skit. It’s helpful to listen to perspective like he offers.

      Reply

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  20. Budget and the Beach
    February 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I have to remind myself of this when I get crabby about how slow my computer “seems” sometimes, when I think back to college when I had to walk to the “computer lab” in the freaking cold and snow and wait in line to use a computer…then I stop bitching. Technology advances have made it possible to do my career as a freelancer, because when I started as s video editor, it wasn’t possible.

    Reply

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