If someone is sitting on your front doorstep starving to death and you buy a super expensive (vegan) pizza because (in this other reality) it gives you more status, then only eat 1/10th of it and just throw the rest away, instead of giving it to the person on your front door then you're an asshole.
I'd agree, it is stupid to waste and the scenario paints the portrait of a hypothetical asshole, but we're comparing two totally different scenarios here in a pricey personal item vs. being next to a starving person and denying them your leftovers because you want to be a jerk. Two totally different things, unable to be compared in any way whatsoever. Nobody is buying a $500 watch then tossing it away while a man who will die if he doesn't know what time it is waits nearby.
The watch is the same to me.
I understand you've got an aversion toward anything that's not the bare minimum necessary, but you have to ask yourself, is that the only way that everyone should view it? Perhaps we should only wear fair-trade reinforced ripstop organic cotton or hemp cargo pants in natural cotton color because a) they're functional with extra pockets, b) the natural fiber color means there's no dyes in the item that could be harmful, and the organics remove the harmful pesticieds from the process, c) the ripstops and reinforcements mean less worry about pants tearing and having to buy new pants, meaning you can get more wear out of them, and d) the factor is that you won't be contributing to sweatshop labor. Even if you bought other pants, they wouldn't be as functional as these and you might have to buy pants more often, so we could find holes in what you have now and declare some things "wasteful" if we really sought to look for a reason. See where I'm coming from? It's a fine line to say that one thing is a waste, but yet none of us are perfect in what we buy, and we could ALL do better, you and I included. Again, we're only human and emotion-driven, as can easily be seen by the various responses in this argument because we're not all approaching this from a purely functional standpoint.
This isn't to say that you have to be totally selfless. But a 500 dollar watch crosses the line.
But, it's only the line YOU have drawn, and I know a lot of hard-working, selflessly giving people who don't have anything fancy who couldn't care less if I were to walk around in a $3000 Armani suit. They don't care simply because there are better ways to judge people - by giving a crap about a $500 watch and basing an opinion on the wearer based solely on value you're just as guilty as someone who admires it for how expensive it is. The best solution to tackling the situation is to live and let live with things that don't affect anyone but the purchaser. As a grown-up punk rock mentality kid, I've learned that the battles I pick and choose need to be done carefully, and I'd rather know more about someone before instantly dismissing them based on something as stuipd as an aversion to their possessions. Shit, being judged on my appearance pissed me off to no end, so why would I inflict this same mentality on someone else and be completely hypocritical?
As far as arguing that a 500 dollar watch can have some point other than being a status symbol, whatever.
I don't agree with this. I've heard a few things here of people that seemed to have some pretty nice watches that have a bit more functionality than you can get in a $20 model. You simply can't expect the same bells and whistles for one low price.
And I understand that more women than men prefer to buy useless things. Blood diamonds, etc. I don't think that makes it OK cus it's "just how women are".
I find that just as many men I come into contact with have the same fondness for expensive things - they just prefer to get them in the forms of cars, stereos, video gaming systems and things because it seems more justifiable than a handbag or earrings. Maybe not where you are, but Milwaukee is full of both genders yearning to wow each other with material goods. It's a cop-out to make it sound like this is primarily one-sided in favor of one gender over another just because it is stereotyped in that manner.
Incidentally I never even look at a person's wrist and couldn't tell a $50 watch from a rolex. Also I try to avoid making any assumptions about people based on first impressions. I've been unfairly judged a lot and hate to do the same to others.
So, what if you met someone you thought was really cool, got to know them, and then found out that they had on a $500 watch? Would that blow a relationship with someone? I mean, you've posted that anyone who has such a thing is an asshole and has "crossed the line", so obviously you'd never want to speak to this person again after discovering this fact about their watch. I hate to say it, J, but this last part is a bizarre contradiction to everything else you've said above, and I don't really know which way I'd believe you'd tend to lean in this case because I've heard two different stories. Maybe you don't even know, but I do urge you as someone who has felt judged to not be a judge yourself because for those of us who have been on the receiving end, we know how much it sucks to be there.