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I Have No Idea Why But I Feel the Need to Prove Myself to Retailers

I was having a conversation with The Wife the other day and she blatantly called me out, telling me that I may have problems.  I am well aware that there are things I just don’t “get” but at least this one is internal struggle.

At my bank (national TBTF Bank) when there is a long line, and a private relationship manager recognizes that people are waiting they use it as an opportunity to fly in and try to create a new relationship (read: upsell products).  I don’t mind because I get my banking done and they let me know about new opportunities.

However, since I keep the majority of my money either in the market or in my ING account my checking accounts I keep at this particular bank are tiny.  However, when I sit down with one of these private bankers and they are reviewing my account something inside of me triggers and I usually stammer out something like,

I don’t really keep that much money with this bank

Why do I do it? I have no idea.  I do it when I am shopping as well.  I think it has a lot to do with feeling that I hate when people assume I can’t afford things.  When I wine tasting I hate when people assume because I look young I can’t/won’t buy a bottle of wine.  But I think the more important question is, why do I care?

I don’t do it in other aspects in my life.  I don’t drive around in a car I can’t afford, I really hate spending $200 on a meal unless it is for a special occasion, I don’t brag/complain about my salary, etc.  but for some reason I feel the need to tell this random stranger that I have more than $2,500 to my name.

Any ideas why I care? Any psychologists out there?



  1. It’s their loss Evan! I recall a story when Oprah, one of the richest people on this planet was treated badly in Paris because they didn’t know who she was!

    Of course the owner personally came on her show and apologized once he realized his folly!

    You don’t have to care. Focus on you, not others! That works well in this case!

  2. I purposely dress down when I am shopping, although I do it for comfort. When I shop I am not looking to make friends. Most times, I don’t want the sales people to bother me. What are you looking for? I just want them to help when asked and complete the sale quickly and efficiently.

  3. I think there is a vulnerability when you go to the bank. They have access to some of your most private information and even if you don’t keep all your money at one bank it might appear that way. On the flip side, I’m sure most rich people keep a lot of money in a lot of different places so it probably doesn’t bother the bank teller what so ever.

  4. I get the same feeling of guilt when I buy something small with a credit card. I hate doing it…charging up $4 purchases on a credit card but I really, really, hate carrying around cash.

    • HAHAHAHA I HATE doing that too! I feel like such a chump and almost want to scream at the cashier, I can pay for this I just don’t have cash lol

  5. It’s easy to understand, as it might seems like they’re sizing you up in terms of your accumulated wealth. The issue might be that their assessment is likely so inaccurate that it’s uncomfortable knowing that and thus they need to be corrected. Hey, money’s personal to many of us, I get that.

  6. I used to work a second job in a big retail chain, and there was always people trying to act all high and mighty or showing off. But no one was ever really impressed. We were more concerned with how many minutes til our shift ended.

  7. It’s like high school. You just want to fit in and meet their expectation. 🙂
    I only do these kind of things when I’m trying to get a loan from my finance guy.
    Yeah, I only have a little bit in this here local bank. 🙂

  8. First time I bought a car I brought my folks along since they had more experience with the process than I did (and they had a car to get me there too). I wasn’t a kid, mind you, just never bought a car before. Anyway, the salesman puts the hard sell on my folks telling them how safe it and such, full well knowing that I was the one shopping for the car. My folks were like “umm, he’s the one buying it.” The dude didn’t think to sell the car to me and assumed I couldn’t buy it myself. Suffice to say he didn’t get my business.

    What ever happened to don’t judge a book by its cover?

  9. I think you have this need because many strangers will treat you like crap if they think they can get away with it. You don’t like being treated like crap. Ergo, you try to let them know (at least in a round-about way) that they would regret it if they do.

    When it comes to wine, for example, I find that my enjoyment of a wine-tasting experience is significantly diminished if the people ignore me or talk down to me. I want to have a nice conversation about the wine to learn more about it and increase my appreciation and understanding. This goal is hindered if I’m in an environment where I have to “prove myself” before anyone will want to talk to me. That’s why I seek out and frequent places where there employees treat me well whether or not they think I have money.


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