The first show featured a young professional woman who was looking for her first condo and had a limited budget. She lived in Los Angeles, had $350,000 to spend, and desperately wanted a washer and dryer in her unit. The chirpy realtor crinkled up her nose and said, “Ooh. Hmmm. Probably not in that price point. You would have to increase your budget to over $400,000 to get those kinds of amenities,” (so, having clean clothes is an amenity?). Then Ms. Realtor proceeded to show Young Professional three condos, none with washer dryer, all the while touting the virtues of the Laundromat down the street, or how Young Professional could petition the condo board to allow her a variance to install a stacking unit in her kitchen. I wanted to scream at the TV: “For $350,000, just give her the washer dryer! It’s all she cares about!”The next episode introduced a wealthy older couple with two large incomes and three larger dogs. The wife on that episode put the dogs’ happiness first. “Is there a yard for the dogs?” she asked her realtor about each prospective listing. Their budget was considerably more than Young Professional: a cool four million. I noticed the husband was rather blasé about the laundry room that had its very own view of the mountains. “Did you notice that the yard is a little close to the neighbors?” whispered the wife to her husband while surveying the patio adjoining the pool and tennis court.
I kept thinking how Young Professional would be thrilled to own a house like that with its spacious laundry room. She would not even really need the pool—it could be a bonus. And then I wondered what type of house would appeal to the multi-millionaire couple: a five million dollar house? six? seven?
Why is it that we all want just a little bit more than what we have, than what we can afford?We are conditioned to want, want, want. We chase after that elusive “thing,” only to get it and be immediately dissatisfied. How many times have you bought something you just had to have (the latest gadget, a new outfit, some decoration for the house) only to get it home and feel vaguely remorseful? The “thing” did not fill the void. Oh, sure, we all get that momentary “buyer’s high”: the thrill of the hunt has produced the object of our desire, and now we capture it. If we could only capture that happiness that comes with it, lock the happiness in a cage and revisit it, saying, Yes, laundry room, I am so happy to have you, I will never take you for granted I promise!
Instead of “Did you notice that the yard is a little close to the neighbors?” how about, “How lucky can I get.”