As a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, I realize that we have a bad reputation as wastrels. If it doesn’t work anymore, we throw it away and replace it with a brand new model, never thinking of repair, the environment, or the coming generations. We’re talking cars, computers, toasters, irons, refrigerators, etc. I do not fit that category. My spouse has a marvelous knack for repairing broken machinery. Our car is a 2001 model with 240,000 miles on it. Larry has at one time or other repaired the washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, water heater, and our various old vehicles. The lawn mower is torn apart in the back yard right now being repaired. We do believe in repairing when we can, but there comes a time when the big green trash can is the only solution. If it’s not big enough, we know the way to the landfill. Too many folks just can’t bear to throw things away, even when they should. But when the stores try to sell junk to the public, it’s time to yell.
Yesterday I was browsing in Statesboro at T.J. Maxx, one of my favorite stores for kitchen gadgetry and items for the home. A small table practically filled my cart, but I couldn’t check out without visiting the clearance section. My eyes lit up when I saw a price tag of $1.00 on a large canister on the bottom shelf. I have wonderful canisters like it at home, so I recognized the lid.
“Must be a catch,” I thought, as I reached for it. And there was-a cavernous one. A crack ran from the top of the container all the way down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side. Only the lid was holding the broken pieces together. If I purchased it for a dollar, I could possibly buy some duct tape, wrap the jar completely, and then store dry items in it-non food items, of course. Or I could purchase one that wasn’t broken. Who on earth would buy that thing? It’s junk and ready for the trash. If it really and truly is broken, then throw it out. Don’t put a low price tag on it and expect someone to buy it. Does anyone have any common sense anymore? Does anyone actually buy broken canisters?
Another example of this kind of faulty thinking goes on down at the big stores that sell plants. Go look for the clearance section. There you’ll find the plants that their caretakers have nearly killed already—too much water, not enough water, too much sun, not enough . . . . So they dropped the price by a couple of dollars. I don’t want plants that someone else has half killed already. What are these people thinking? They’ve all gone daft.
Were I an armchair psychologist, I might assume that they are hoarders and can’t bear to throw any thing away. I understand that mentality. It runs in my family, but thankfully I didn’t get the gene. My mother kept an incredible number of treasures (JUNK) in her house and refused to part with them until the day she died. Much of them held sentimental value for her. When I tried to help her clean in her later years, she refused to let me dispose of any thing at all.
“Don’t throw out that little ceramic dog,” she told me. “Cousin Johnny gave it to me for my birthday back in ’53.”
“But, Mama, it has two broken feet,” I tried to reason.
“I want to keep it.”
My mother was a sentimental old lady and totally excusable, but what about the people who run stores? Must they try to sell junk? Will they go into bankruptcy without that dollar?
I’d like to offer some unsolicited advice. If the plants are dead, throw them out. If the merchandise is broken beyond repair, throw it out. For everything there is a purpose, even trash containers. Use them.