Consumer Hangover: To Perfume, or Not To Perfume…


I’m about to throw away my first, completely used, bottle of schmancy expensive perfume.  I used it, I liked it a whole bunch, I always got compliments about…errrmm…smelling good.  But here’s the thing: I was attracted to this bottle of perfume, and I tried this bottle, because I loved the packaging it came in.  And now?  The thing I loved so much that it enticed me to spend one hundred of my hard-earned dollars?  Is now so much garbage.

I often think that I’m not subject so much to things like brand loyalty or swayed by marketing campaigns and yet, I buy the same brands of toothpaste and peanut butter all the time and couldn’t rest until I had an iPhone.  If there’s one thing my media studies class taught me, it’s that the barrage of advertising we endure every day is relentlessly unrepentant, so some response to that is inevitable, whether it’s to go get that burger you’re suddenly and inexplicably craving, or to sink an (when you think about it) unreasonable amount of money into something that exists purely for cosmetic reasons.

Feast your eyes upon the splendor of the Lola bottle cap!

Sure, I know the common lore about perfume—that it takes a bajillion rose petals to distill one ounce of pure scent and the reactions between the combination of scents that comprise the perfume + your skin’s own chemistry = a unique effect for every person, so the same perfume won’t smell the same on two different people, and once you find the one that “works” for you, you should stick with it.  Yada yada yada.  Frankly, I didn’t care about any of that.  I just cared about the big floopy PVC “flower” that constituted the cap of the perfume bottle.

This lady also has zazz.

It is adorable.  It is bright and eye-catchy and cute-fun, the Carmen Miranda of the perfume world.  It’s got zazz.  And when I’m not sort of playfully flopping the edges of said PVC flower about, I’m anal-retentively making sure it’s lined up with the front of the bottle, because we can’t have the flower off-center as it sits on top of the bottle, can we?  Oh, no no no no.  You down with OCD?  Yeah, you know me.

And now?  I’m about to throw it away.  I’ve invested time, and money, and more emotion than it deserves, into this stupid, overpriced bottle of manufactured smells.  And for what?  There’s a spray I’ve gotten at discount stores that costs something like $6 that I like quite a bit, and did I mention it’s $6, not $100?  And when that six dollar bottle goes the way of the dodo, I don’t have to contemplate its meaning, or feel anything that vaguely resembles guilt.  It wasn’t expensive, it made me happy, it did its job, and now that it’s done I can move on to the next six dollar bottle and not invest a moment of my emotional innerspace on bells and whistles and floopy flowers.  Who needs it, right?  Who needs overdone PVC perfume caps and shiny bottles in visually pleasing shapes?  It’s not like I’m going to wear any of this around my neck and it’s got to be presentable to the general public!  It’s not like anybody has come up to me in the past year and said, “Oh, wow, you use Lola!  Clearly, you are a woman of discerning taste and unimpeachable sensibility.”  No, instead, whether I used Lola or the $6 Pure White Musk, all I heard during the duration of the entire year was, “You know…you always smell so nice.”  So to hell with it!  It’s just a social convention and a way to coerce us into parting with our income, to keep us poor without us actually acknowledging that we’re poor.  I mean, in a crisis, I could use that hundred dollars (well, $94, once you deduct the cost of the Pure White Musk, but I digress), but I can’t eat my perfume.  Grrrl power!  Fight the…


What the whaaaaa…?????

OMG SO CHECK IT OUT!!! My boyfriend knew I was getting low on my favorite perfume, and he ***bought me a new bottle***.  Love!

Like the phoenix from the ashes...

11 responses to Consumer Hangover: To Perfume, or Not To Perfume…

  1. Amy

    YAY, new bottle! I was about to say, it may have needed a shrine if it was your last pretty PVC flower ever….. It’s not so much the beauteous bottles of high end fragrances I want, as the lovely uncluttered lady dressing table full of couture comsetics overlooking a balcony in Paris on which to keep it….


  2. Garzilla

    OK… I loved this. Yes, the topic we would deem least likely, if not wholly impossible to hold any appeal to me (and you know me very well indeed) has turned out to be my favorite one… until my next favorite one, of course.

    Exceedingly well-played… WOOT


    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Garz, I must admit this reaction does surprise me a little, though I’m delighted. It’s not so much about ladies’ perfume as it is about being aware of what makes you susceptible to thoughtless consumerism. I felt like I owed it to “What Would Jesus Buy?” to admit to my own tendencies. 🙂


  3. Garzilla

    Exactly. The real points of consumerism and the importance we place on “things” can apply directly to any purchase that might warrant a little justification. Gear-worshipping musicians would be a good (or bad!) example. 😉


    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Good/bad. Because gearheads can STILL justify gadget shopping as relevant to the needs of their jobs, even if it seems extraneous to outsiders…or people “in the know”. Spendy perfume, no matter how you slice it, is just spendy.


  4. Garzilla

    More good/bad to chew on… if I had a “legitimate” (always debatable) reason to get a new bass, the choices at the top of my short list would run anywhere from $1300 – $2000. Being somewhat knowledgeable about the needs of the situation, I KNOW that I can find something suitable to the need for, oh… say $500-700. Other than the privilege of paying more for a label, if “Made in U.S.A.” is a deep-seated conviction, or the higher-end instruments are just “prettier” (ok, by a longshot…but I digress ;)) it becomes harder to justify spending more.


  5. JP

    The stopper design is simply gynetastic! (gyne-o-mite?). It is the full monty, if monty’s name were Georgia O’Keefe. Zazz indeed!

    As for my conflicted consumer dilemmas, I refer them to the source of all moral higher power and superiror guidance: WWZLD? (“What Would Zamboni Lady Do”).


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