Noreen Malone

Noreen Malone is on the staff of Slate magazine and contributes to DoubleX.

Recent Articles

Cheap Thrills

Is buying more the way to economize? Clearly, this is not your grandmother's downturn.

(AP Photo/April L. Brown)
I recently threw out a pair of versatile black ballet flats that I have worn exactly eight times. They only cost $12, so the price-per wear was less than I pay for coffee each morning. I'm not angry that they fell apart so quickly; in fact, I can pick up another identical pair from Target. I've known a lot of ballet slippers in my life, but none have cared to stick around too long. It's easier on my budget to buy four or six or even eight pairs a year rather than purchase one nice pair that might last longer but is destined for the same trash heap. Buying more is the way to economize: Clearly, this is not my grandmother's downturn. Cheap is having a moment. Each day since the financial collapse brings a new story about the countercyclical discount sector. Dollar stores, Wal-Mart, McDonald's -- all are going great guns. But it's not just acceptable to pinch a few pennies these days, it's downright fashionable. Magazines like Vogue , tone-deaf to cost in the prelapsarian recent past,...