Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Average Joe

For an average white collar worker it is only not hard work 9 to 5 (and in some cases 9 to 9) it is also hard work after working hours.

To visualize things easier why don't we take an example that most watch fanatics can relate to. The Rolex GMT Master 2 BLNR also known as the Blue Black and thus the Batman is a pretty hot watch at the moment. To be able to save up to this specific item you have to consider 67.300 HKD in Hong Kong which is around 8.680 USD for our international readers. Most people have to use a considerable amount of time to make and save this amount. In order to reach the goal you have in mind you have to be able to put aside your money and not spend too much before reaching that goal. So when you have kids (doesn't matter what age), a nice mortgage (or rent) and a nice car then you need carefully allocate your resources. If you are somewhat younger you can think of expenditures like going out to dinner, clubbing or trips with your unlimited amount of friends. It doesn't matter what age you are: the average Joe needs to save up a couple of months for any considerable amount and sometimes even more due to various set backs such as losing your octopus card, breaking down of your laptop or washing machine, picking up the tab of the dinner with your date (that turns out to be a small ipo, except the other way around), medical bills or some other unfortunate happenings. 

Of course there is also a group of people who are financially faster due to skill, background or no (special) expenditures. If you feel related to this group then do not consider yourselves as average. I think we all can agree that purchasing A-brand watches costs a considerable amount of money.

After a while when you reach your goal, which is usually the same amount as the MSRP, you already have done some field work. You were able to reach this goal because you don't have any kids yet. Whether it is on the internet or in real life you are sure what kind of watch you want to get and you are aware of the retail price. In the thrill of this you go to a (dedicated) store and ask if the new salesperson if they have that model. Unfortunately they don't have it in stock the young bloke distinctively says. But how about they put you on a waiting list. You exchange contact-information and patiently wait until the store calls you. You pass by every time with your date who you have been seeing recently.

By the time the store calls you, you have already given birth to your second child. They just called you to check if you still wanted the watch or not. Since you got married you haven't thought much about your watch much. You paid for your wedding but you still have the amount available. After you got a confirming call from the store you go to the store with your kid. Not because you want to take the little one with you but because your partner already took the younger one and she cannot handle two by herself while she goes out to see her mother by bus and subway because there is no budget for parking nor a car. Luckily you have set aside your watch money and you got a nice rate on deposit and you transfer it to your checking.

You come in the store and the junior salesperson has become assistant manager and has aged a little, he is starting to get bald now (he already turned gray after seeing his first paycheck). He is talking about this Blue Black edition soon to be cut off by Rolex. You are one of the lucky ones to receive it. Unfortunately you get no discount because this is still a hot item, maybe 0,25% if you pay by Hawaiian credit card. When confirming the amount you are somewhat startled about the retail price, it is much higher than the MSRP of before you got married. "Why did the retail price grew much faster than your deposit at the bank?" you keep wondering. Your fund was doing exceptionally well and still the amount is not enough to get your watch.  

You start to sweat a little because you know you don't have enough now. There is no way your partner is going to let this one go if you touch the college funds of the kids. You can't move the stocks because then the broker who happens to be your partners uncle, will ask why you liquidated some stocks while they were on BUY. You used to have 2 million friends but they are all gone since you started to stay home during weekends. Your other friends stopped calling you since you started to go split the bill when you found out you are going to have a kid.   

What else is left, there is not enough cash to settle. You cannot let this one slide because the store will not lay it away for you. There is no choice but to go to the pawn shop and pawn your wedding ring. By doing so you finally got your Rolex that you have been waiting for so long. But you need to hide the receipt because your partner will ask how much it was. And you need to find another solution to get back your wedding ring. In the meantime your kid has been running around the counters and customers are mentioning a career in sight as the new Usain Bolt or Lui Xiang. So no need for half of the college fund you think, perhaps a new watch.

You are the proud owner of a brand new Rolex, enjoying while it lasts. Even though you now own the Rolex GMT Master 2 BLNR you still need to settle a lot of other problems such us how to explain where the money came from to your partner, why your wedding ring is not on your finger and why you went out and bought a watch without consulting your partner. The bus is almost arriving to your stop and you need to carry your sleeping kid while holding your bag and box in the other hand. You don't worry about those questions anymore because you are staring at your new kid on your wrist.

The question is could we have avoided these problems and saved a little time? Yes there are solutions. One of them is the most popular solution of one of my younger sisters Hoi Lam: don't spend the money and you saved it. Such a good and simple solution! 

There are also other sustainable solutions that I will elaborate next time. Until that time: don't be this specific average Joe!

Do you recognize something in this story or you wish to tell us about your "struggle" for your new watch? Or perhaps you have a solution to these issues average Joe faces. Share and send it in to hongkongwatchfever@gmail.com

Siem Wong

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