My adorable and inquisitive wife Ora, who keeps up with the latest research on well-being, read that experiences are a much better investment in well-being than purchases. Serious studies with more than two participants unrelated to the researcher and a margin of error of plus or minus 0.00385541 percent show that if you have a little extra cash, better invest in experiences that will cultivate nostalgic moments for the future, rather than in objects.
This is provided you don’t get killed or traumatized during one of these experiences. Investigators have demonstrated that buying things does not improve your well-being much. Experiences, on the other hand, have the potential to improve happiness by providing a source of distorted memories that make family vacations sound idyllic. Study after study prove that buying a pair of red shoes, or a red Corvette, does not improve your happiness as much as having a meaningful experience with loved ones.
Persuaded by the research, Ora decided to improve our well-being by having a new experience: Five consecutive days of shopping at Miami’s finest malls.
Day 1: Aventura Mall
Day 2: Dolphin Mall
Day 3: Merrick Place
Day 4: Dadeland
Day 5: The Falls
I tried telling Ora that by the end of day five she would be the only one with memories because I would be dead, but she told me to quit whining and get some extra cash from the ATM in case we maxed out on our credit card. Of course, she had a perfectly good excuse to drag me into this. Our son Matan was about to get married during the summer and she insisted that I buy some new clothes to impress my daughter-in-law’s family. To say nothing of what Ora had to buy for the occasion. It’s not every day we marry our son, and I did need new underwear.
What I thought was going to be just a horrible experience turned out to be a sequence of atrociously traumatizing near-death experiences, which will be very memorable indeed — I give Ora that much. In the first day alone we spent close to 11 hours in Aventura Mall buying and returning items in a never-ending cycle of hunting for bargains, comparing prices, losing my wife, calling each other on the phone, not hearing the phone because of the obnoxious music in stores designed to replace Guantanamo, matching colors, fighting for a dressing room, dressing and undressing, trying on 53 items, leaving a complete mess in the dressing room, buying items, refusing to get a new credit card from the Banana Republic, schlepping bags to the car, going back to the mall, finding a better bargain, fighting for a dressing room, standing in line behind 27 Brazilian women and 27 nannies maneuvering strollers the size of an SUV, paying, and going to the car to leave the new purchases and retrieve the old ones, which Ora decided we needed to return because she found a comparable item for 34 cents less in Chico’s, which usually charges 0.34 percent more than Express, which offers discounts on Thursdays and Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m. which are 0.00021 percent better than the bargains at Ann Taylor Loft.
Meanwhile, I could never find Intimissi underwear, which I usually buy in Europe.
If they have it in Europe, I figured they would have it at Aventura Mall, which is the size of Montenegro and Luxembourg combined. To my dismay, no store in Aventura carries Intimissi cotton briefs with elasticized waistband, 93 percent cotton and 7 percent elastane. Determined to get the only underwear especially suited for my European anatomy I used my iPhone to check the Intimissi website while Ora left me in the husband deposit area of The Loft with other equally comatose males.
The Intimissi website listed 29 countries where you can find a store, including Qatar, Croatia, and Saudi Arabia, but the United States of Consumerism was not one of them. Resigned to have to buy online I discovered that you cannot buy Intimissi underwear online from the United States, which is grounds for retaliation and military invasion of whichever country manufactures Intimissi.
Undeterred by setbacks, I thought that I would be the first one to open an Intimissi store in the United States, which would make us rich enough to clone myself and send my alternate ego with Ora to the mall while I schemed a takeover of Intimissi Europe, which led me to ponder some other revenue generating ventures at Aventura Mall that could eliminate unemployment in South Florida:
English school for Brazilian nannies.
Export of nannies to Brazil.
Manners schooling for children of Latin American dictators and drug lords.
Isaac Prilleltensky is dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami. Look for his humor blog at http://prilleltensky.blogspot.com