My Husband Bought a $500 Vacuum

And I didn’t flinch. Well okay, I flinched. But what was I going to do? The guy is obsessed with clean floors. Also, when he buys things, he likes to buy the best (the vacuum cleaner has a “crush-proof hose” and a “whisper-quiet” suction). He’s a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy. I don’t care about clean floors and I’m cheap.

But I said nothing because I’ve found that if I tax Nivi too much–give him a hard time about everything I disagree with–I end up with nothing. I get much further if I tax selectively–say, put my foot down about a new Volvo station wagon he can’t stop talking about, but let the vacuum cleaner go.

I’m paying attention to what economists would call a “deadweight cost.” That’s when the side effects of a tax are so powerful, they override any potential benefits. For example, if the government taxes workers too much, and everyone decides it’s not in their interests to work hard anymore, tax receipts dwindle. That’s the theory, at least (and it sure does make libertarians mad).

So I wish Nivi all the best with his new vacuum cleaner. Just don’t expect me to use it.

Posted in housework, spending

9 Responses to My Husband Bought a $500 Vacuum

  1. jenny says:

    Here’s a question for the spouseconomists: I don’t have any interest in a $500 vacuum, but I do have interest in a nicer bedroom. Every night when I get into bed I look around at the buckling rug and the clunky furniture and I start complaining to my husband. It drives him crazy, but I can’t help myself. Is this really bad?

    • Paula says:

      I tend to think that any sentence that ends, “but I can’t help myself,” is bad. So yes. And based on your husband’s reaction, I’m probably right. Since complaining, as an incentive to get your husband to agree to a renovation, isn’t working, why not try a different incentive? You could tell him how much you loved the way he redid your kids’ rooms, or mention that he has such a good eye for design, or take the lead and find a new rug that’s in your price range, send him the link to it online and offer him a multiple choice answer sheet:
      “yes, i love it, buy it (and thank you so much for doing the leg work),”
      “i don’t love it, but go ahead and buy it if it’ll make you shut up already,”
      “i don’t like it, but i like where you’re going with this, so shoot me a couple other choices,”
      “what’s for dinner?”
      (that’s humor!)

  2. Avideh says:

    I’d like to know if there’s any buyers remorse or if the vacuum has been worth the investment.

    • Paula says:

      The vacuum is what economists would call a “sunk cost” — it’s already been paid for, so why look back? So no, no remorse. Also, Nivi has continued to vacuum at least every other day and still displays it in a prominent position in the living room. He keeps the user’s manual by his bed and reads it occasionally — for fun.

  3. Shirley Nord says:

    Did he forget to mention that it was his mom who encouraged him to splurge on the vacuum

  4. Dennis says:

    Any guy obsessed about clean floors and willing to do it himself (shirtless and all) should not be “taxed” for wanting to buy the lovely family one of the safest vehicle on the market!” Go, Dust Bunny. Go!

  5. Pingback: What’s the point of marriage? | Spousonomics

  6. Carmen says:

    I think it is a man thing, go big or stay home.

  7. says:

    Maybe your husband should have spent the $500 on some shirts.

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