As funny as it is — pocket watching has nothing to do with an actual watch (someone actually asked me that) but everything to do with watching the wallet of someone else. Pocket Watching is simply lingo that means to watch the financial means and spending of another, usually, because someone else wants to control them or doesn’t approve of their spending habits. In some cases there are hints of jealousy involved because one may have more money than the other (and we’re not just talking about common folk v celebrity) this is often common folk v common folk.
The Coronavirus pandeic has emboldened that very movement. With the rise of unemployment claims in America; people in need, people looking for the rare delight of self-pleasure these days, social media has been lit up more than ever before. There is now this thing of shaming someone for purchasing (“such and such”) because we’re in the midst of a pandemic.
In fact, pocket watching isn’t necessarily exclusive to the United States. Pocket Watching I’ve seen it discussed on everything from Weibo in China to chat rooms in London. It’s problematic because pocket watching to me is a form of policing because you’re telling a person based on your own thoughts and beliefs what they should and shouldn’t do with their money. Whether that be their hard earned money; benefits they’re legally entitled to have, or money they earned in whatever way.
Usually the crime of pocket watching is being committed because someone else typically feels entitled to someone else’s money; doesn’t like how they’re spending money, or something possibly in between those two things. Pocket watching can be aimed at middle class to poor people as it can be aimed at wealthy people.
A prime example:
Christina is a middle class American working as a let’s say lab tech. Earning a decent salary, but at times, feels entitled to more for whatever reason.
But then you have Alexis Christina ‘s close but not so close friend. Alexis is semi-successful; let’s say drives a new Range Rover, but lives in a modest apartment. Doesn’t tell anyone but she believes so long as she has a home she is good — in absolutely no rush to go big or go home.
Christina earns roughly $40,000 a year.
Alexis makes beauty kits she sells online and recently found her niche/success so that she doesn’t have to work for anyone but herself. Alexis is typically a financially savvy person; saves money, invests, and so on but of course keeping her business to herself — Christina was never told that.
This is where pocket watching comes in. It’s offensive because in this scenario, let’s say, Christina finds that Alexis is once again shopping for new handbags. Instead of complimenting her new bag — Christina is questioning her for the purchase (“Oh there’s other things you could’ve bought with that.” or (“you always wrecklessly spending your money.” )
First of all, there is no right or wrong way to spend one’s money especially if they’re earning such by themselves and making it happen for themselves. Telling someone without knowing full-scope their financial picture that they’re in some way wrong for indulging or buying with their own money has got to stop.
I’ve seen so many tweets this year with people judging each other because of what they did with any extra cash or funds they had this year. People judging each other for indulging in small purchases like T.V’s; or using a little spare cash for a moment of pleasure. If that were the case that would mean money wouldn’t exist at all and there would be some other thing out there that we are given in exchange for work essentially evening out the playing field for all. But because money does (“exist”) that scenario isn’t likely (unless technology advances.)
One thing I can’t stand about other people is someone judging their own financial picture on that of someone else. You never quite know what someone is up too at work; whether or not they have a side gig or even a business, or whether or not they do more for their money. It is their right to earn and spend and do as they please with their money (hopefully they’re putting some aside though that’s just keeping it real.)
The views expressed in this article have not been directly endorsed by Bazaar Daily News or its columnists.