Recently, a woman confessed in CafeMom that she found out her fiance had bought her engagement ring at a big chain store. She admitted she was upset about it and asked if others would be. Wellllllllz ... the first answer pretty much summed up the universal holier than thou response: "No. I am not materialistic." At first, I had the same thought. Hey, it's not about the ring, Miss Hoity-Toity! It's about the person, the relationship ... yada yada.
But then I sat with the question. I pictured myself opening up a box and inside finding a lovely ring. And then I pictured looking that ring up online and discovering it came from some big chain retail store. Or actually seeing that name on the box. And I had to admit I'd be -- something. Maybe not mad. But definitely not happy. Yet I'm not a materialistic person. No romantic partner has ever paid for a single day of my upkeep. I wear thrift store clothes until they have holes in them. So what gives?
A ring from some big box store reeks of, "I just happened to drive by a Big Store XYZ and was like, 'Oh yeah, better stop in and get a ring.'" It smacks of putting no thought into it. Like, Hey, lemme pick up some Pringles, pudding packs, spiral notebooks, and an engagement ring!
And no, I'm not materialistic. In fact, I was quite happy with the engagement ring my fiance gave me -- and that was FREE. He spent ZERO money on it. That's because he got it from his mother, who was given the ring by her husband on the occasion of my fiance's birth. In fact, I was glad he hadn't spent money on it because at the time neither one of us had much. And it came with special meaning.
I also don't agree with what big box stores stand for -- billions in profits that are not passed along in health care or livable employee wages, and prices so low that it forces small local shops out of business and closes plants that open up overseas where they can pay people much, much less. I don't give those places business if I can help it, so I certainly don't want to look at their brand name on my left hand for the next however-many years. (Here we could get into the ethics of buying diamonds in general, but that's another post.)
If you don't have much money, there are other places you can go for an affordable ring. EBay. Craigslist. Vintage stores. BlueNile.com. (Personally, I love the idea of getting a great classy ring for a decent price just because someone else happened to wear it.) I guess if there isn't ANY other place to buy a diamond beyond a big box store in your hometown, and your guy didn't want one sent through the mail, then so be it. But it still smacks of lazy to me.
Would I break up with a guy over a generic big retail store ring? Of course not. Would I pout about it endlessly? I hope not. But something deep, deep inside of me would shudder. And not in a good way.
Would you be upset if your ring was from a big chain store?
Image via wwarby/Flickr