The Root of All Evil

“For the love of money is the root of all evil.” ~1 Timothy 6:10

e12614b36f3cf0e2bc82d636af260050Love is a broad term. Some use it quite liberally, to encompass everything from tacos to their grandmother, while others quite specifically only say love when they mean the romantic kind. I guess when I see the word love I immediately think of family, but I can truly say that there are other things I love. Money just isn’t one of them.

Let me back up. I appreciate money. I covet it. I want more of it. But not because of the money itself — instead, it’s the power that money represents. I love power, and there’s a thin line between money and the power that can come along with it.

I’ve spent the majority of my life without so much as two nickels to rub together at any one point in time, living paycheck to paycheck and hoping a job is just around the corner when the previous one comes to an end. On the rare occasion that I’ve had more than a small amount of money at one time it hasn’t been about stockpiling it. It’s always been about supporting my family.

That’s what I think is the real difference between money, and the love of money. I would never roll around in a bed full of hundred dollar bills for fear that I would inadvertently lose on in the frolicking. That hundred dollar bill could be a year’s worth of milk for my family. Yes, that’s the difference. I don’t love money. If I could get those necessities and support my family without it, I would be just as happy.

il_570xn-485309020_tecvMoney is as money does, to loosely quote Forrest Gump. It’s a means to an end. That’s one reason I would worry if I hit the mega jackpot or received an 8 figure bequeathing from a long lost relative. Because I could with that kind of money easily take care of my family and still have a king’s ransom left over. With that kind of money I could fall in love, quite easily. I have an addictive personality, so I know I would develop an unhealthy attachment to having and maintaining it.

So I guess I agree that the love of money can be the root of some evil, but all evil? Too many horrible things happen in this world that have absolutely nothing to do with money, but everything to do with the depravity of human nature. Too much goes on that speaks to deeper levels of evil that money cannot touch. While I get the overall issues that can be associated with having “too much” money, the “mo money mo problems” scenarios that have cropped up all too often, I can’t make that blanket statement.

It’s not money, but how we deal with it, the true value we place on it, that really matters. Evil is as complicated as love, with many entrances and many hidden hallways to it. The love of money can be one of those conduits, but it is certainly not the root.



Keeping it Brand, Part 5

So, if I asked you what the craziest day of the year, at a retail store was, what would you tell me? You would probably say something like Black Friday, but you would be wrong. While that day might generate the most sales for Target, the store is usually only crazy for a few hours, at which time it slows down and normal foot traffic ensues. The absolute craziest day for Target, at least, is December 26. Want to know why?

December 26 is the day after everyone has gotten their presents and realize they would have preferred something else. Maybe we should think more about what people really like before buying stuff we hope they’ll like. Therefore, they get up early in the morning on the day after Christmas (their bodies are still wired that way since their kids got them up early on Christmas day), they go down to their local Target store, and they head straight to the guest service desk where they will exchange, exchange, exchange. Finally happy, they will exit the store and proceed to enjoy their newfound presents to themselves. This is precisely why their friends and family printed them out gift receipts, for just this eventuality that they feared would happen anyway.

The second reason it’s the craziest day of the year is because of markdowns in both the Christmas items (we call them Trim & Tree at Target), and in the toy department. After a whirlwind has hit both departments (they’re two of the three biggest sellers — electronics is the first) they are ready to be renewed (on the part of toys), and completely changed out (on the part of Trim & Tree, which will become patio items in the very near future). With this in mind, people come from far and wide to buy items for 50% less than they could have on the 24th. These people mob the store, and wait outside for 7 o’clock when the store officially opens on this day. They fill up cart after cart of clearance merchandise, and they leave happy. These are the people who buy their Christmas cards for next year on this day so they never end up paying full price for them. I admire these people.

And finally, the third reason is one you’ve probably already figured out: gift cards. Leading up to the holiday, so many friends and family members realized you would hate their gifts or just exchange them, so instead they went the non-creative route and bought you a gift card instead. So, armed with your bevy of gift cards (some that feature Spot, the Target dog — isn’t he cute?), you venture out to Target and spend, spend, spend — other people’s money, in the form of those cards. So, it’s almost as wild in the store on this one day as it was in the entire week leading up to Christmas, with people buying what they really wanted with these gift cards, or exchanging what they got for better things. Sounds like fun, huh?

Then again, it sounds like more fun to sleep in, but I work at six.


Keeping it Brand: The Archive

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

They say that money makes the world go around, but isn’t it really the lack of money that does that? I mean, when you don’t have money you are forced to be creative with everything. Why do you think that most inventors talk about coming “from nothing” and “making something” of themselves? It is this lack of money that is a driving force in our world today. If we don’t have it, we want it, and we think of a lot of ways to get that money, honey.

Rappers sing about it until it becomes just a constant drone on the radio and in your beats by dre headphones. Jay-Z, or Ludacris, or T.I., or even Eminem laying down the dope rhymes about how much cash they make, and how they spend it lasciviously on everything and anything their hearts desire. They make it sound so glamorous, occasionally talking about how they came from nothing so they appreciate this new-found largesse, etc. But if they really appreciated it, why take so much time talking about how much they appreciate it? That’s simple. Because they don’t appreciate it. They want more, even though they haven’t found real ways to spend the money they have already accumulated. These are the same guys who complain the most about piracy because “it takes money out of our kids’ mouths.” Well, that sentiment aside, Mr. Kanye West (because money shouldn’t be in his kids’ mouths, after all), I don’t see their kids starving. You see what I mean?

Then you have the former sports players who in their primes made millions of dollars just for throwing a ball, or catching a ball, or hitting a ball, or hitting other people to stop them from getting or advancing a ball. These players who you hear about so often filing for bankruptcy not long after retiring from the sport that gave them all this money, only to see it all disappear, and indeed they are even in debt by that point. Why is this? That’s also simple to explain, because they don’t value money. They don’t remember what it was like to have nothing, even though so many of them came from nothing. So, they squander their money on STUFF, you know, things they don’t need or even want after a certain point, things they probably couldn’t line item for you if you asked, things that got repossessed when they couldn’t afford them anymore.

The value of money is an intriguing thing. Most times I don’t think we consider it, but all money is — is paper, and scraps of metal shaped into circles. Or more recently, it’s the idea that we have money, when we scan our debit cards and our accounts are deducted accordingly. What’s really amazing to me is the idea that we don’t have money now, but we will have money in the relatively near future, when we use those things we call credit cards. People run up so many credit card bills because it’s so EASY to do so. We don’t have to think about it for a month, and when the time comes to pay up, we only have to pay a fraction of what we spent! It’s like a miracle — until we reach our credit card limits, the bank is calling us to pay up, and we still don’t have money in our bank accounts. Oops. That’s why while we pay homage to the almighty buck, we don’t value money nearly as much as our ancestors did. We might want to take a page from their book sometime and never forget where we came from. Money or not.


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