It's getting to be yard sale season in these parts! Saturday marked the first community yard sale we went to this spring, and an annual favorite sale is coming up next weekend. As a thrifty mama, I adore yard sales - in 2012 I barely had a positive pregnancy test before I went out and scored nearly everything I'd need for Tristan's first year at the spring yard sales. (The kids didn't even know I was expecting then - I had to say the purchases were for our coming nephew!)
As much as I love yard sales, sometimes I find one that makes my head spin. On Saturday, as we were cruising, I spotted a sale that looked like they had emptied the whole contents of a house onto their lawn. Thrilled, I grabbed summer clothes for Daniel and a few things for myself. As I shopped, I saw that many items were tagged for a consignment sale, so I asked if the prices were the same.
"Oh, no, just a dollar each. Those came back from the sale last year, and I didn't feel like retagging them for the current sale. I actually have over a thousand pieces at the consignment sale happening today." I gawped. There was enough here that if I needed these sizes, I could outfit two women, two boys, and drown a family in toys. And she had a thousand more pieces at a sale right then.
On one hand, I love people like this. They buy things at high retail prices, their wardrobes are so extensive that things get outgrown before they're worn out, and I get to buy them barely used at a fraction of the price. But on the other hand, it hurts my heart to see the excess and waste. I wonder what else they could have done with the money they spent on all these things they no longer valued. She went on to say she had no idea what to do with all the stuffed animals, since most consignment stores wouldn't accept them. She was shocked when I told her that Community Aid would not only accept them, stuffed animal donations were how they refilled the stores claw machine.
I hope that between the yard sale, the consignment sale, and donating to Community Aid, that she made some more room in her house and put some cash away for the future or to pay things down. But maybe I'm projecting too much. Maybe she has ample space even if she never got rid of a thing. Maybe she has so much money that yard sale cash just funds her sushi habit. Not everyone limits themselves to what they NEED - some people just buy what they want, wear it three times, and call it good.
Why does that bother me so much? It's their money, their space, their stuff - if they want to spend it that way, surely it's none of my business. So why do I let it get to me like that?
When I had my consignment store, there was one customer that I loved and hated to see. I loved when she came in because I knew that my sales would go up by $75 minimum every visit, but I hated it because I knew she was a hoarder. Every purchase, even though she cooed about how cute it would look on this grandchild or that one, would end up in a bag in her garage, and she wouldn't get around to giving it to the grandkids until they were too big to wear it. Her kids wouldn't talk to her or accept the gifts, so it seemed extra tragic to me.
Another woman, when I was dirt poor and working in a convenience store, would come in and buy $500 worth of instant lotto tickets. My rent was $425, due the next day, and I had no idea how I was going to pay it. Yet I had to keep selling more tickets as she scratched them off and found losing ones. I wanted so badly to yell at her that she was WASTING money while I had none to pay my rent, but I bit my tongue. Then a friend of hers spotted her and struck up a conversation. I forget what it was about, but Lotto Lady said "Oh, no, you know me! I'm as poor as a church mouse!" I finally looked at her and said "Ma'am, I wish I were as poor as you!". She laughed and went back to her tickets.
It's their money. They can waste it if they choose. So why do I let it make me so crazy? The day they choose to spend it differently will have no effect on me (unless they hire me to look at their budget or buy my book). It's theirs to do with as they choose.
What about you? Do you find that other people's spending habits make you crazy?