It’s a known fact that Asians are very stingy about their belongings: money, children, right down to their choice of sauces to put on food. But have you ever wondered how Asians are able to keep their homes, and most importantly, furniture, free of filth for such a long time? It’s because Asians everywhere have discovered the joys of Plastic Furniture Covers.
Asians love plastic (see hoarding article). This love of plastic doesn’t just end in the produce aisle of an Asian Supermarket. It spans decades and generations of Asians that have had to live as frugally as possible in order to maintain their wealth. With that said, Asians wrap their furniture due to…
Hospitality: What’s practical about wrapping your furniture and not ever getting to experience that soft velvety satin brushing against that layer of clothing you have indirectly touching your bare bottom? Or the smell of fresh furniture in the morning. Or maybe.. well.. you get the point. The main reason Asians wrap their furniture is to share those feelings with their friends, family, and other loved ones. Asians never pass up having company over, and will save only the best for them. In fact, you’ll never see wrapped furniture in an Asian household if you’re invited. You can, however, stop by an Asian friend’s house in the wee hours of the night (around 4AM) to see their furniture in its truest form.
Asians also use “company” this time as an opportunity to ostentatiously flaunt that 55 inch plasma television or gaming system. They wouldn’t have all those possessions without a little…
Frugality: When Asians purchase their furniture, they are looking for a long term investment. They are also analyzing all the opportunity costs: hours spent by friends on couch, projected monthly dirt buildup, hours spent cleaning couch, and last but not least, resale value. Now we know that asians love having company over and saving only the best for these sparse occurrences. This doesn’t mean that asians can’t ever stop to ask, “How much can I get for this couch after it’s worn out?” Unfortunately, wrapping their furniture prevents this from occurring, which is something they realize only once they are old enough to have grandchildren. (or great grandchildren)
Posterity: Once asians realize that they can’t sell their pristine furniture, they market it to their children as antique heirlooms. “My mother got this from her mother, who got it from her mother, who won it in a game of Mah Jong.” Their children will in turn spend a great deal of time and effort preserving the furniture only until it in fact becomes a priceless piece of family history. We still haven’t gotten to the practical reasons for plastic furniture covers.
The most obvious reason for having them is keeping furniture clean. Enough Said. Some asians take it to a whole new level though. They will wrap their china, handphones, remotes, computers, and televisions to keep the dirt off. These asians have most likely survived harsh times like the Great Depression (or the onslaught of communism in their countries). The next time you see an Asian that has wrapped their furniture or other items, ask them about their lives. Where they came from, how their childhoods were. What they did for a living. If they comply, chances are that you will receive similar responses about economic hardships and difficulty providing for their families.
We can’t forget your reader responses: “We’ll take the plastic off when someone important visits.” says Anonymous. “The families I’ve known who were into plastics were working poor” says another. “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do –Or do without.” That’s how Asians view life. It’s very complex and full of “saving face” and impressing others. First impressions are very important. Asians must continue to wrap their furniture so that they can be hospitable, frugal, and charitable to their posterity in the future.
But let’s not lose focus. Sometimes life isn’t just plastic-wrapped furniture:
“One of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen was the small apartment of an Asian woman in Boston who had everything covered in plastic and lots of china figurines and gleaming things made of brass, everything spic and span and in absolutely pristine shape. I think she was going for the Dynasty look. The woman worked three jobs, at least one at a hospital, to maintain this home and raise her two sons – one of whom had gotten in with a bad element at school and had just killed someone. Even through her shock and pain and the utter destruction of her life, she was gracious to the stranger who showed up to ask her questions. And I thought about how hard she worked to make everything perfect, and how you can’t put plastic on the world.” -CunningLinguist
Seeing my father work so hard has made me realize something: We are so fortunate to be living in such a prosperous and open-minded country. This Father’s Day: After you read this post, take a look back at your life and how much more well off you are than an Asian (or any other person) in a third world country. They would die to be in your position, literally.
This is Peter Nguyen, posting live from his computer desk. We’ll be back tomorrow at 5.
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