Vengeance is bad for your wallet

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Revenge has never been good for the soul but who would have imagined that there is a kind of revenge that is even worse for the wallet? Unlike the emotional revenge we might wish upon an enemy or for some perceive injustice, the revenge I am referring to makes you feel good in the beginning but whacks your wallet and logic at the same time. Experts on consumer behavior call it “revenge buying” which they have observed in many places were there have been strict quarantines that were recently lifted.

The behavior is a reaction of many people to being confined to quarters, denied the right to travel and limited in their commercial or retail transactions. Their desire for goods and experiences get so bottled up that the minute they get a chance, they simply buy an item that they otherwise would have refrained from or would normally have delayed. Other people hit a point when they realize they have no real control of their circumstances and decided to live life, give themselves permission to do things or acquire things they have denied themselves when they were “in control” and “rational”. “Shopping with a vengeance” was how they called it before, in reference to irrational or emotional shopping to get even with a husband or to outbuy other people in the store. 

  I actually figured that this was happening in the Philippines when friends in the motoring industry casually mentioned that the month of May was a surprisingly good month for car sales. Then I started hearing the lament of husbands about the endless stream of Grab – Shoppee – Lazada deliveries because of multiple daily purchases being made by wives and children. We’re not talking food deliveries mind you; we’re talking stuff big and small, everyday. It is as if what they could not do once a week at the malls, they are now doing online, daily! Given the growing number of cases, may I suggest that you check if you have angry shoppers in the house and if you do, you might want to call your first “Online Shoppers anonymous” meeting and lay down rules, budgets and hurdles to overcome “revenge buying”!

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While we are all daydreaming of places to visit and trips to take, I suddenly realized how God often blesses us and prepares us for seasons of drought, but we absentmindedly miss what he is doing so he never gets the credit and we fail to express our gratitude. As I was dreaming of the day I can finally go to Baguio and Boracay, the good Lord gently showed me how in 2019 I went to Baguio on three occasions, which led my daughter to ask why I suddenly liked to go to Baguio out of the ordinary? All I could say was because I always liked Baguio when it’s wet and cold and foggy. Then out of nowhere and against tradition, we joined up with two families on a road trip to the Visayas during the Christmas holidays. It was quite unplanned and out of character for me, but it was a memorable and very relaxing trip that made me appreciate the need for vacations. In fact we resolved to do it all over again in December 2020. Yeah, sure!

Looking back, I now realize that God blessed us with those trips knowing full well that COVID-19 would prevent us from doing what we took for granted. In fact if I go a few months further back, it was a time when I literally spent every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in our place in Lipa. Looking back it seems like God wanted us to tank up on the outdoors just before we entered into our “winter of discontent” with COVID-19! So here I am expressing my gratitude and giving praise to God for his unseen hand.

 As I share this experience allow me to also share a story that is a sort of warning for people who instinctively react or make decisions on the fly without praying for wisdom or checking with God Almighty about certain things in front of us. Sometime last year, we invited our household helper who was a single mom to bring her kids to join her in our home. The eldest was just about ready to go to kinder school and the younger one was very much a toddler then. Claiming she could not handle both while working, she brought the older one with her. When time came to enroll her, we offered to pay for the child’s schooling at a nearby private nursery school or if she wished at the nearby public school. Sadly she chose to bring her daughter back to Lipa and enroll them there with her siblings and her dad. Needless to say we were very disappointed with her decisions but you cannot force a parent on how to raise her kids.

Lo and behold, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and we are under the longest quarantine in the world. It has been three months since she last saw her kids and for a moment she was ready to break out of Metro Manila. As I calmed her down, I used the situation as a teaching tool that it could also be God’s way of teaching her that we should pray and ask God for guidance. Had she brought the kids with her, they would now be together not apart and under better circumstance. Don’t look at the giver, look for God. Your convenience for the moment could be your discomfort in time. God bless you. 

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