The Poor Man’s Snobbery Insults My Intelligence

You may think that only rich people can be snobs.  I intend to prove you wrong.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I like international grocery stores.  Besides the selection of food, the products are usually cheaper and sometimes significantly so.  For instance,  you can find spices for obscenely low prices; the brand name companies represented at your regular grocery store sell you a small bottle of spice for a lot of money, but I get my spice for one to three dollars per pound.  These are Indian brands or direct imports by the international market for consumption by the local immigrant community.  I may not get the “comfort” of a familiar brand, but that’s relatively unimportant.  If a spice brand is good enough for people in (or from) India, it’s good enough for me.  The quality is there.

English: Brazilian Linguiça or pork sausage on...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But instead of seeking good deals, many Americans buy (literally) the food companies’ advertising.  The grocery stores keep telling us how much of a bargain their prices are and the manufacturers also bombard us with messages about their products’ quality and budget friendliness.  And people absorb these messages unquestioningly.

So, I was visiting some friends one time and decided to bring some sausage from a local mom-and-pop butcher shop run by immigrants.  (Usually, my friends supply all the food for everyone; this doesn’t seem right.)  The sausage at this shop costs 30-40% less than what the grocery store sells.  It’s also fresher and of much higher quality.  However, my friend (who is not poor by any means) responded self-righteously to my contribution and did so with more than a little discomfort; he had agreed to let me bring food but I think he overestimated his ability to deal with it.

Some people who aren’t rich take their economic status as a sign of virtue; my friend was no exception.  It also didn’t help that people have learned to equate price and quality.  I brought better stuff, which somehow meant that I was flaunting my “higher” status.   (Um… I’ve been unemployed for a while and wasn’t rich before that, but no matter.)   I recommended the store and mentioned the lower prices but my words fell on deaf ears.  “Our prudent Kroger is better than your profligate place, you scum.”  Or something like that.

If that’s not snobbery, I don’t know what is.

If you want to spend the extra money to finance a world of wonderful advertisements, be my guest.  I’d rather spend the cash on something useful, or perhaps keep it in my bank account.  I’m a big fan of frugality, but I guess that makes me a snob too.

6 thoughts on “The Poor Man’s Snobbery Insults My Intelligence

  1. My mother-in-law grew up in Namibia, and a common meat consumed there (at least when she was young), beside beef, mutton and pork is goat (as in billy-). She tells us they regularly ate it as kids (I should add they grew up on a farm – you don’t really get it in supermarkets) but her mother vehemently denies it, citing that they were never that poor. I’ve had goat. It’s quite good. I’ve had porcupine as well. That was really good.

    I don’t know about the sausage you bought, but the ones in the picture look like what we in SA call wors . Great when grilled on an open fire (or gas if you must) and just about a staple food over here.

    • The sausage pic is just a stock photo from Zemanta, but “wors” looks an awful lot like “wurst,” which is what I brought.

      I think they may sell goat over here too, though I haven’t tried it. I may be wrong, but I think it’s popular with the Muslim population. I’ll have to put it on my grocery list sometime.

      • Wors is coarsely ground meat and fat, usually beef or mutton (with spices). Wurst tends to be finer and is usually pork (though I’d rather not know which parts). I prefer the former – the latter is very fatty and very rich. If you find a South African shop in your area that sells wors give it a try.

        By the way, what you say here applies to clothing as well. Unbranded clothes at the cheap chain stores are more often than not of the same quality as branded clothes. Almost all my clothes come from cheap stores and I constantly get compliments on my dress-sense. If only they knew.

  2. hahaha. Well some people find it hard to taken advice. They are “know it all types”, they feel insulted by advice, especially if its against their social status. I have an aunt who takes pride washing all the utensils with bottled water, as if tap water is not rich in fluoride.

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