More Plates More Problems

plates 4 copyMoney is useful in that you could go to a restaurant and order anything you might enjoy from the menu, not in the sense that you could order 100 plates of your favorite dish.

The choice is the important part, not the extravagance.

Actually, you – along with your surrounding environment – could be worse off if you ordered 100 plates in a dining establishment.

Think about it. First, you have the problem of time. One plate might take 20 minutes to prepare. 99 more? Don’t hold your breath.

Then you have the problem of space: where do you put all of those plates? Sure, you might be able to fit 20 or so on the table, but eventually you have to find auxiliary storage. Perhaps you use some extra seats or ask the people around you. Now you’re just becoming a nuisance to your fellow fine diners. (Not to mention keeping the kitchen from preparing their orders.)

If you do finally settle in, after hours and irritation, you run into a slightly bigger problem: waste. Even if your name is Joey Chestnut there’s no possibility that you will eat 100 plates of food. As such, you’d be throwing away 98 or 99 plates of perfectly good cuisine.

“Share it!” Some might argue. Ok, but you better have exactly 99 other hungry people with your taste preference in that restaurant. What if there are only 25? You’re still wasting food. What if there are 206 additional diners? How do you divide the portions without offending someone?

Summarized using a slightly altered Notorious B.I.G. song title: “mo plates mo problems.”

Incidentally, I have actually had a personal experience in-line with part of this example. I was at a tapas bar in the Netherlands (tapas not tatas). The restaurant had tons of choices: hot, cold, spicy, desserts, you name it – about 60 selections in all. It was marketed as “all you can eat” but really it was 5 rounds of 3 selections each time. Even though I could have had 15 plates, I was only able to consume about 6 or 7. It was nice being able to point to whatever I wanted; yet had I been forced to eat all 15 plates that would have been awful. (No one should have to translate a bathroom sign in the case of an emergency.)

The money I paid was useful in that I could pick anything I liked – not for the reason that I could have had double the food and double the stomach-ache.

In any event, it’s not truly about the number of servings. Perhaps you caught on to the not so subtle analogy. I wasn’t talking about plates as much as I was using them as a proxy for any type of superfluous monetary activity. Using money for extraneous items or activities can forcibly detract from the significant and universal wonders of our world.

Amassing a large sum of money requires time. Then to go out and spend this hoard of currency requires more time. This is especially true if the purchase requires constant upkeep or attention, service or debt. Finally, in order to make the process worthwhile, one might even be inclined to showcase said bought item to demonstrate that they once had said large sum of money. All the while simultaneously taking away from the things in life that don’t “cost” at all – the important things.

Now I’m not advocating a monk-like lifestyle (unless that’s your cup of Shaolin tea). I’m simply suggesting that having or coveting too many possessions tends to possess – both time and attention.

Plus it’s kind of like giving the finger to society. You might be unnecessarily tying up recourses. Someone is out there hand-stitching the seats for a pink Lamborghini, while others don’t have the means to access to clean water.

Finally, by requiring the “superfluous,” the “extra,” the things that “set you apart” – you could be damaging a cornucopia of things you don’t want to mess up: yourself, those around you, the environment, etc. The resources you require – both natural and personal – may not always be able to be replenished.

So for the sake of humanity, let’s stick to one plate.


7 thoughts on “More Plates More Problems

  • October 22, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Excellent article and great analogy. We have whole industries (such as long-term storage units) built to compensate for over-indulgence. More plates/stuff rarely equates to greater happiness and often as you say can lead to worse…stomach ache/etc. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. That Netherland’s restaurant sounds like quite a place! 🙂

    • November 2, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Thanks frugal gal! You got it, naturally being able to choose is a great thing. The problem comes in when the amount of stuff (be it physical or otherwise) becomes too much. i.e. possessions tend to possess. The restaurant was indeed quite a place. Thanks for sharing!

  • October 23, 2015 at 2:25 am

    On one level I know all this, but in reality it is hard to let go of things.
    It is easy if it’s broken, but very hard for me (and my wife) if it is in good shape. (I’m talking more about stuff in the house, which is what I took out of your analogy.)

    • November 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Hi EurFI thanks for your comment. I’m not necessarily advocating getting rid of stuff, or shunning items just to shun them. I think it’s more about deciding what brings value and working around the rest. I think a lot of times people can get caught up in chasing the next item, next car, next house, etc. It takes an awful lot of work to obtain and sometimes the satisfaction for sacrifice might not be the best of balances. All the best!

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  • November 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Haha wasn’t quite sure where you were going with this, but I like how it came around. It really is a good analogy. That’s why it’s so important to consider money as a means to the freedom to do what you’d do anyway as opposed to a means to buy more!


    • December 7, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks DP, I appreciate it. It’s nice to throw in some suspense from time to time 🙂 You got it, money as a tool to design a life you’d like to live. All too often it can be easy to lose sight of this. All the best!


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