The Tacky Index by Rob Long

That's the thing about the National Review. They really hit the mark once in a while. That's what Rob Long did in his article on credit card companies.

It seems that credit card companies have started looking not just at an ability to pay, payment history, employment - all those tangible things - and have started looking at whether you are shopping at cheaper haberdasheries and doughnut shops. Because if you are (and who is not) you are now part of a new class of consumer: pre-deadbeat.

Yes, that's right. You, by glancing at panicked headlines and your 401K statement and reacting rationally, are a deadbeat in the making. Why else would you start scrimping? Why else question those $200 haircuts? You must be on the downward slide! Quick! Let's reduce the credit limit on his cards! Ha!

Mr. Long refers to the credit card prayer we have all done: please let it go through.

Leisure Lad and myself went cash-based four years ago. I found myself apologizing to dentists and mechanics, saying "I am one of those weird people who only gets things done when she has the money. I'll call you."

The cash-based lifestyle is kind of freeing. My entertainment is YouTube, Netflix, gardening and writing. I really don't need anything other than survival money. We don't have a t.v. anymore and we don't need one. We don't have cable and I must say that our quality of life has improved a lot since we got rid of it.

I used to have antiques shipped over from China all over my house. I made money on most of them when I sold them. Once, in a carpet store on Connecticut Avenue, I bought a huge armoire they had in the store for twenty years. It was magnificent. All inlaid wood, hand-carved, antique beveled glass, it was six hundred pounds of ego. Leisure Lad described it as obnoxious because it took up a lot of space and everyone always made such a fuss over it. "I hate the thing, but I have to admit, whenever a woman comes over she gushes over how wonderful it is."

I sold it. It did mean a lot to me to have my antiques admired by visitors. True. But in the end I would rather have the cash. When push comes to shove, that's what you find out: the person with the finest furniture does not win.

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