We have been looking to purchase a new car recently.
The car is for Ms B, who currently drives a car that has given us many problems.
My focus has been to find a model of car which is both stylish and safe. We have a 7 year old child after all so safety is a priority.
Ms B however is more interested in a status symbol. She has argued that many of her friends drive a Benz, so why shouldn't she.
We visited a dealership that had one car that I was ineterested in, and one that Ms B was interested in.
My choice was a modestly priced but stylish looking car with ample safety features, including full curtain air-bags.
Ms B however insisted on a very expensive and luxurious sports car, which I believe was not appropriate for a family of four.
The salesperson was of Chinese heritage, and he would obviously have made more commission if he sold us the sportscar.
Well, sensing the tension between Ms B and myself over what style of car we should purchase, he began addressing my concerns over safety.
He said the following to me:
"We Chinese believe in fate. If you are destined to get hurt or killed in a car accident, then you cannot avoid this. This is your fate. Whatever car you choose will not change your fate, so why not choose the luxurious car and enjoy life."
Ms B immediately latched on to this comment and pushed for us to purchase the luxurious car there and then.
I told them both that I did not accept that line of thinking, and would not put my family in a car that was designed for speed. In particular I would not agree to placing our son in a car that was designed primarily for two people, with compromised back seating.
Ms B was very upset with me.
This belief in fate, which I am sure provides some form of relief for people who have experienced tragedy in their lives, was really not an appropriate way to view the purchase of an sportscar. In my way of thinking it was merely an excuse to be reckless in one's decision making.
Anyway, we ended up buying the modest model car, despite fierce resistance from Ms B and her mother. They even co-opted my son to argue for the sportscar.
However I felt it was sensible under the circumstances to purchase a family car, not a sports car, and I purchased a few extra safety features to boot.
To appease Ms B I also purchased some luxury additions for the car, including in-built GPS, in-built phone, window tinting, better stereo system, nicer wheels and a special paint job. In fact I was happy to purchase whatever luxurious features Ms B wanted, as long as the safety of the vehicle was not compromised.
Now to be fair, the car actually looks great, and could even pass for a very expensive label car.
But Ms B is still upset with me. You see she wanted to tell people that she owns a Mercedes Benz. It was not the car so much that she wanted but what it represented.
This emphasis on "labels" dogs us time and again. Both Ms B and her mother have an unrelenting desire to telegraph their status to the world by purchasing products that are for the most part no different than cheaper versions, but for their label.
It seems that even a pair of shoes cannot escape this kind of scrutiny.
Anyway after about a week of getting the silent treatment from Ms B, I sat her down last night and told her that it was her destiny to get a smart looking, stylish family car, and no amount of sulking will change this.
Hopefully we can leave this chapter behind now and move on with more important things in life.