Father Tony

DINKS with Drinks?

Filed By Father Tony | August 04, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: DINKS, Jeremy Hobson, marketing

Jeremy Hobson has delivered a report on NPR's Marketplace that is simply shoddy and rather offensive to at least this half of a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) couple. DSC06137.JPGIt begins by questioning whether or not DINKS (of any orientation) are feeling any financial pain and it ends up giggling about childless gay couples buying expensive drinks in Provincetown. Did Mr. Hobson talk to any of the DINK property owners in Provincetown who would never blow their money on overpriced drinks and drag shows in any economy? After hopping his bus to Provincetown, Mr. Hobson should have taken one to Orlando and questioned some of the non-DINKS about their methods of disposing income on thrill rides for their kids. He should have offered a sensible and balanced conclusion about economic choices being variously made across the board in good financial times and in bad.

He includes the fact that raising a child from birth to college costs parents between $100,000 and $200,000. Although he doesn't explicitly say so, his report strongly implies that the rest of us slosh about in disposable income, touring the globe and spending frivolously on overpriced drinks and diversions.

I want to say a word in defense of those DINKS who, like me, do not behave that way.

I recall being greatly offended by a co-worker who once, while preparing his coffee next to me in the office kitchen, asked me about a recent trip to my second home in Montreal. As he walked away, he said something along the lines of "It must be nice not to have to raise kids and be able to afford all that." I followed him into his office, gave him hell and accepted his apology. By noon, word had spread throughout the staff of two hundred that it is never advisable to voice assumptions about an unmarried man's finances.

I've a message for Mr. Hobson. I save wrapping paper and ribbons from gifts, and I reuse those mylar bags in which arrive bottles of wine. I do not have maid service. I clean that which I make dirty. During my work years, I bought expensive Brooks Brothers shirts because they more than paid for themselves by holding their finish and creases when you wash them at home. I bought a home water filtration system after calculating the amount of money I would save on bottled drinking water. I own a SmartCar. I do my own taxes. I cut my own hair. I buy bulk.

A balanced report about DINKS should have included not just those who are at a vacation destination like Provincetown (Everyone spends more freely while on vacation), but an examination of DINKS at home where current economic woes mean that the floor beneath our feet is worth much less than it was two years ago. Mr. Hobson should have found a way to show how DINKS - like non-DINKS - are of two varieties: the careful who plan long-range, and the less careful whose disposition of income is shorter in range (i.e., bottom of drink glass at bar). My overall problem with this report is that its initial premise is to examine DINK spending but it jumps into a comic jaunt among gay tourists in Provincetown.

And returning to my assertion that we ought never voice assumptions about DINK spending is the unseen expense of caring for parents. This often accrues to the DINK couples because, well, we all know they can afford the time and money. I know several gay DINKS who don't talk about this expense that they willingly shoulder.

I love NPR and Marketplace but I think they botched this one. Something tells me that Jeremy Hobson was just looking for a way to get NPR to send him to Ptown. To do some research among the guys at the Boatslip.

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Marketplace is a production of American Public Media and really has nothing to do with National Public Radio other than programs from each company appearing on the same stations.

It annoys me when people make assumptions about the disposable income of DINKS. It also annoys me when people act like raising a family is more worthy than not raising kids.

I love my kids. I wanted them, I had them and I didn't do it ignorant of the costs. They make me happier than a second home in Montreal would make me. If having more money to spend on other things had made me happier, I wouldn't have had kids.
Having kids is as selfish a decision as not having kids. It might be the last selfish decision you make for a long time, but that's beside the point.
What kind of douche bag says he "has" to raise his kids?

To clarify, I bring no negative connotation to the term selfish. Really.

I have raged at NPR programs for years about their coverage. What I find is that they don't even respond to consumer concerns I know that they don't seem to answer me, not even to tell me that they don't agree.
I honestly won't listen to them and sent a letter to my local public station telling them that I will not be donating while NPR maintains the attitude that they are holier than everyone else. As long as they carry NPR they get no support from me.
Also consider that our different approaches to family structures can also cause other expenses, like when we take care of a sick "brother" or "sister" while they die slowly from a horrible illness. Or when those homeless teenagers who are not being taken care of by their own parents live with us but they don't count as an expense since they are not our kids. Or when we take care of older mentors who are not Family but are definitely "family".
Obviously it was not a researched piece and was just fluff.. it must be nice to be NPR and be so good that you don't have to bother with any real journalistic standards.

A. J. Lopp | August 4, 2009 4:39 PM


(1) Is the couple still a DINK if both have lost their career jobs, and one now sacks groceries at the local Safeway, and the other flips hamburgers at McDonald's?

(2) Are two people in a DINK couple ahead of the game compared to a single person who is a SINK?

(3)(a)Which is better for a DINK couple to do: Buy the fancy drinks in Provincetown, or sock the extra money away in a stock and IRA portfolio? (b) When the stock market went down the toilet recently, did the DINK portfolios go down at a slower rate than the MWK (Married With Kids) portfolios did?

(4) As for gay/lesbian couples, if we want children, the straights disapprove and say we make inferior parents; if we don't have children, they are resentful because we don't struggle under the expenses of child-raising. Now, other that finding a magic pill that turns us straight, which way do you want it?

Not to mention all of the bi people out there who have biological kids but who may or may not be in a same sex relationship. What do they want to do with us?

I think you have to turn your kids in when the same sex relationship starts.

Some of my kids I wouldn't mind turning in....

A. J. Lopp | August 4, 2009 5:12 PM

Father Tony, I guess you are implying that Jeremy Hobson is a FINK --- or maybe that he is Overpaid relative to the quality of the work that he turns out, in which case is is an OINK.

Rick Sours | August 4, 2009 5:40 PM

My Partner and I are very socially conscience and
contribute on a regular basis to organizations
which help the homeless or children and families.
We also contribute to shelters for abused women.
Given the present economic times and the struggles alot of individuals are experiencing, we feel this
is the only right and proper thing to do.

Thank God you are NOT donating to gay organizations; at least your money is being used to HELP people.

Rick Sours | August 6, 2009 7:19 PM

My Partner and I DO DONATE to LBGT organizations.
My reply was simply in response to the article as
it relations to DINKS and the heterosexual community.

For those who may have missed Jeremy Hobson's Marketplace segment "Advertisers eye spendy DINK couples", you can still read or listen to it:

oops... I see Fr. Tony already had the link. :/

erm, well, you can still add comments at that site.

Well, if you own at least one home then you're ahead of around 1/3 of Americans. I don't know if that third is childless or not, tho. Something tells me they are, or else then the God of Prosperity Theology would have smiled upon them and given them at least a 3-bedroom.

A. J. Lopp | August 6, 2009 1:24 AM

Don't look now, Alex, but I bet that a large portion of the 1/3 of Americans who are renters have one or more kids --- and I expect that many of them are single moms (or single dads).

And in this dreadful economy, that 1/3 of Americans also include the "boomerang kids" that moved out from their parents, maybe went to college, found a job, lost their job, and then finally had to move back in.