I want it. You buy it. Any questions?

Frequent commenter Ruth emailed me with this little gem:

I saw a tee shirt on a little girl this morning
1. I want it.
2. You buy it.
3. Any questions?

It was a pink shirt with sparkly sequins which made it even more obnoxious. What parent would buy such a shirt?

My first reaction was to hope that it was meant just the way it sounds – as a joke. My son (who is a reluctant napper) wears a t-shirt that says “Naps are the enemy.” It’s a joke. I put it in the same category as “I’m with Stupid” t-shirts. But part of me thinks that this message, humorous or not, is going to be repeated again and again around the child, to the child, and (because it’s funny) approvingly. I don’t want my son to think naps are a bad thing, and I don’t want this girl to think she gets anything she wants.

That t-shirt summarizes an awful lot of what is wrong with the debt/consumer society. Could you imagine what kind of values that little girl is going to have if she continually sees her parents whipping out the credit card to buy her every little toy (now) or shoes or makeup (later)? She’s going to be a financial wreck when she finally goes out on her own. The saddest thing is that her parents probably think they are being nice. There is a saying that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” If a parent thinks they are being nice to a child by giving in to their every desire – giving them a “perfect childhood” – they are laying the groundwork for the road to (financial) hell.

So what would you put on a t-shirt? Would you wear this one:

how to be rich
step 1: spend less than you earn
step 2: repeat step 1

It’s not funny, because I couldn’t think of anything clever, but give me some ideas – there has to be a cute or clever way to get this message across. “My piggy bank can kick your piggy bank’s a**?”

What’s the slogan for your t-shirt?