One of the few things I don't like about being an academic is my inability to engage in significant retail therapy. I shouldn't complain, given the economy. Our household income is not much below the U.S. median (my income alone is less than 15% below), and might even be slightly over, when Dr. Mr. Palimpsest's adjunct income is added in. According to this map, our income is around or above the median for our county. And yes, I realize that consumerism is a cancer on our society, money is the root of all evil, and children are starving in Sudan. I also realize that advertisements are carefully crafted to make me feel I'm living like a Puritan in the midst of Babylon (so don't I deserve a little something for myself?)
For financial, environmental, and ethical reasons, I'm committed to having less stuff in the house. I don't want it, I don't need it, I shouldn't have it. But then I have a bad week, and all I want is a new pair of shoes. And some fancy French cheese with my whine.