Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The High Price of A Good Deal

In a book I read of a little old woman purchasing the holy grail at a thrift store for fifty cents. The next day a knight showed up at her door, wishing to trade magical artifacts for it. What is it that drives us toward a purchase? Perhaps the thrill of getting a good deal. Who doesn't applaud themselves when they save ten dollars by buying something second hand? It is a feel good feeling. But when is saving money not really saving money?

I stopped by Goodwill last week looking for accessories for my pirate costume, and left the store with a pair of pirate-y pants and a belt, and a bag full of clothes for Anastasia for less than $15! I was so pleased with myself and vowed not to buy any more clothes for her full price. Everything looked brand new, some items, including an adorable organic cotton outfit, still included tags. Does Anastasia really need an entire month's worth of clothes so I won't have to do laundry all the time? No. But boy is it fun dressing her up like a little doll, in my bargain clothes. I suppose this is my vice.... crafting and goodwill shopping on dollar day where all items with a certain color tag are $1. This is seriously better than the dollar store, and I feel as if I am doing the earth and my community a favor by recycling clothes instead if purchasing new ones. Why waste our resources on new clothes, when so many clothes already exist. This also keeps me from supporting large chain stores which pay people pennies in third world countries to make fine clothes to sell at outrageous prices. Goodwill on the other hand is run by Americans, some disabled, and sends most, if not all of their proceeds back into the community. This my friends is my reasoning for spending $15 on items that I could very well live without.

My dad loves Sam's Club. He swears he could not afford to eat healthy at regular grocery prices. His beloved bargain strawberries are over ripe, his Bananas turn from green to brown missing the perfectly yellow stage, and his tomatos are mushy, therefore hard to cut, and threaten the well being of my fingers. He buys everything in bulk in the name of saving money. Perhaps he gets the same thrill at Sam's club as I get at Goodwill. Instead of spending $15 for high quality items, he spends $200 on sub-par groceries. He shakes his head in disbelief when I buy fresh blueberries at the Farmer's Market for twice as much as his from Sam's Club. But when half of his groceries rot or get wasted as mine are fresh and eaten before they become spoiled, I am reminded of the price of "a good deal".

I am not trying to brag about my shopping abilities, and denounce my father's in any way. He is happy with his purchases. I am happy with mine. This is just a constant issue in my current living situation, and I am venting about why I am a food snob. Sam Walton is filthy rich and getting richer every day. Animals are living in scum, and pumped with antibiotics and hormones. Our fruits and veggies are saturated in chemicals for growth and pesticides for protection. Mass produced produce lacks flavor and freshness. People are living in poverty all around the world, and major corporations are employing them and allowing them to continue their poverty-stricken lives while they are getting richer and richer. But its okay, because we are all getting "a good deal".

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