Bonjour mes amies! I plan to make this an entire series, because price shaming is real. Click here to read Part Un.
Shall we proceed? Very well.
I was an intern. She was a career employee.
She entered my cubicle to ask about a project I was tasked with.
After providing her with my additions to the overall project, I noticed her eyeing the bag on my desk.
Since I was an intern, I didn’t have a locked drawer, I kept my belongings where I could always see them.
“Is that your purse?” She asked whilst waving her index finger up and down.
“Why yes, it is” I replied. “I haven’t received my permanent desk yet (I was speaking my hiring into existence.)
“How much did that purse cost?” She beckoned.
I slid my all-black geometric shaped purse with standing top handles to the other side of my desk and gently tilted my head at her.
“Oh, I didn’t want to touch it, I can tell from here its expensive. How many days a week do you work here?” She asked.
At the time, I was taking 24 credits (oui mes amies, the Dean and the Director of my school had to sign off on such insanity), working three days a week as an intern, working weekends as a licensed embalmer, and raising my special needs child as a single parent.
But of course, the aforementioned details were not particularly necessary for her to know.
“I’m here three days a week.”
True to form, I couldn’t get that conversation off of my mind the entire day. When I logged off of work for the day, I called a (former) friend who was once an intern now converted career employee for advice.
“Welcome to the new world. Trust me, they have been watching everything you’ve worn to work, she was just the only person bold enough to ask. Get used to it.” She insisted.
When I returned to the office on my next scheduled day, I decided to wear another purse.
I made it the entire day without seeing her. As the day was ending, she came by my desk just as my supervisor had arrived.
She waited patiently for my supervisor to finish her work-related comments, she then interjected:
“OMG, I looked online for your purse. I didn’t know that thing cost over $500.”
“What bag?” My supervisor questioned.
“Oh, the other day Jessie had this expensive-looking black bag on her desk. I just didn’t know how expensive it was until I looked it up online.” She answered.
“Do you plan on buying the bag Jessie had?” my supervisor inquired.
“No, I’m not buying it.” She uttered.
“So you just wanted to know the price?” My supervisor inquired confusingly.
It was at that moment that I realized my intern supervisor was a keeper!
To this day, I still seek council from her. Madame W is an amazing woman.
As the years went on others’ expressing their “issues” with my choice to wear designer items in the workplace continued to worsen.
I’ve had supervisors discuss with other colleagues how “shallow” “superficial” and “ridiculous” I was because I:
Wore designer items
Cared about my appearance
Said “Ciao for now”
“I bet you she doesn’t own a home or have a penny in her bank account. All of her money is going to impress others.” Squealed one supervisor.
As I did when I was fifteen years old, I felt the need to justify my purchases by telling my (former) supervisor that: I was a homeowner in the Nations Capital, I had X amount of money saved, I had investments and that I maxed out my TSP annually.
But I stopped myself.
I had and I have nothing to prove, to anyone.
If I am not borrowing money from family et mes amies, what does it matter how much I spend, on anything?
I am not ashamed and I simply refuse to let anyone make me feel as such.
As my late Grandmere would ask “are your affairs in order?”
To which I can unequivocally respond:
Never feel obligated to have such financial conversations with anyone who your choices do not directly affect.
As the influx of influencers and use of social media tell-alls surge, bystanders are becoming more and more emboldened to request/know/demand everything.
Share what you will and keep what you don’t.
No explanation is needed.
Ciao for now!