Okay, so my husband and I bought those fancy, overpriced pillows from Brookstone.
We've looked at them for months. We've coveted them. We bought them. That part is over. It's done. I'm not going to rehash the angst of that decision. And yet I think, were William Carlos Williams still with us, he might write a poem about what it is like, to sleep on those beautiful cool-gel pillows.
BUT, while we were checking out, the two Brookstone sales guys were very talkative. One of them had set up these great new $2,000 massaging chairs for us. They had two of these chairs going, and my hubby and I sat in them for a good ten minutes. I felt decadent, and a little embarrassed, but damn, those chairs! So anyway, when we were checking out, I made the comment that the chairs.....WOW they were great, the way they massage your feet and back, but $69 dollars a month? For three years? No. Not so much. The two pillows (buy one get one for half off-----what a bargain!) were enough decadence for this year for us!
So, what I want to write about is the two Brookstone clerks. Because what I said, was, "When I was your age, I would have bought the chairs. That was before we had real bills to pay!" (My hubby and I were both driving clunkers for much of our 20s, and what student loans we had, which were small, were around $100 per month. We lived in an apartment and had few expenses for a while, pre-kid and house.) This elicited a response from the very helpful Brookstone sales guys.
They had bills. Oh boy, did they already have bills. Tom, the kid checking us out, who looked about 22 years old, said: "I go to a public U right here in-state. I have not finished yet....it's taking me a 5th year. So far I have $87,000 dollars in student loans." Andy, the other clerk, nodded in understanding, and told hubby and me that he and his fiancé would likely never be able to afford a house, as both of them already had student loan debt amounting to more than most houses they would not mind living in.
What the hell is going on? I mean, really. What the FUCK? I teach at a community college. I will not allow my kids to incur that kind of debt, so they are going to a community college for two years, and then they are using what small amount we have saved for them. I won't let them graduate with a bachelor's with more than $25,000 debt. For some reason, that is my cutoff.
But what I am wondering is.....is it even worth it? What the hell are the admin folks doing raising costs like this? Is college really so much MORE VALUABLE now than when I was in school? Because it was a hell of a lot less costly back in my day, and inflation definitely does NOT explain the increase in costs? From what I see, from where I sit as a prof, and from what I read here, it seems like things are going downhill fast. And yet, costs are going uphill. What is going to happen to nice kids like the clerks at Brookstone, with their six figure public U basic bachelor degrees?