Withering Glance: Why are you padding your wallet?

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK
  • Star Tribune
  • February 18, 2012 - 1:32 PM

CP: I know a fun game. It's easy and can be played anywhere, anytime.

RN: I thought you were over "Marry, Date or Dump?"

CP: Don't interrupt. You select a man, any man, and order him to place his wallet upon the table. Then go through it in a coldhearted edit, tossing out the expired bus pass, the curled Post-its and the discount punch cards for an oil change at that place that closed two years ago.

RN: What's with that? I recently observed a loved one -- who shall go unnamed -- pull out a wallet so unwieldy that I thought he had retrieved a folded, leatherbound copy of "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" from his Levi's.

CP: The game isn't over yet.

RN: The most revealing takeaway from playing Crash This Wallet with a friend was when he sheepishly pulled out a pass for a subway system that's approximately 1,200 miles from his St. Paul home. Handy.

CP: Once the billfold's contents have been trimmed, it's time to toss out the actual wallet, too.

RN: Exactly. I just saw a guy crack open one of those tri-fold nylon wallets with the Velcro fasteners. And no, we were not in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, circa 1982.

CP: A man will go through four new flatscreen TVs without even thinking about replacing his dogeared, lopsided, nearly shredded wallet. Doesn't even matter if he has a Christmas-gifted billfold in the closet. He loves the one so worn that you can read his Visa card number right through the almost-sheer leather.

RN: Not to get too personal, but I notice that you don't carry one.

CP: Most days I have a modest cash reserve sandwiched between a driver's license, one credit card and my work ID. In the front pocket. Pickpockets hate the front-pocket carrier. And I don't have to sit on a wallet all day.

RN: My disheveled self needs an organizing vehicle. I've considered a money clip, but it seems so, I don't know, Kardashian. Still, I don't understand the guys who stuff everything but the Magna Carta into their checkbook -- what minuscule percentage of retailers even accept checks today? -- and shove it into their back pocket. The chiropractic industry must see dollar signs over that.

CP: Plus, imagine an era free of that telltale wallet outline on the back of every pair of men's jeans.

RN: If only the world's industrial designers could do something about these bulky cellphones.

CP: I know. It's surprising to me that jeans makers don't offer designs with accommodations for the omnipresent mobile device. Is that an Android in your pocket, or are ... ?

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