Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Free Stuff Becomes an Addiction

I love my mom, and while we don't get along often on emotional, spiritual and personal values, we often agree and like certain physical and material values. However, the one thing I am concerned with is her ever-growing addiction with Free Stuff.

I grew up in a wealthy town and in our town we have a recycling center and a place where you can drop off stuff that is in fairly good condition but isn't quite trash. It's called "Take it or leave it". You don't have to bring something to replace what you take, so you can take as much or as few items you want. I usually look for things that I can reuse and repurpose or use in my artwork and my mom usually looks for ... things. Being in a wealthy town people here throw away designer items that they don't want anymore. There is a lot of furniture and other items in really good condition so I can see why it may be addicting to pick up free stuff.

But she has taken to saying, "I love the price." Free.

That bothers me... especially when she said that she loved the price of the vegetables from my Dad's garden - Free. My Dad, rightly so, said, "They aren't free, I bust my ass at the garden."

We were just at the Brewster farmers' market and it was small and overpriced. But I'm sure it was over priced because you get what you pay for. She's used to cheaper, less fresh vegetables from the supermarket and "free" vegetables from my dad.

It just bothers me when she says, "I love the price." It is distortion to the max. She loves discounted places like Building 19 where you can get left over stock from department stores at a discounted price. Sometimes this is a good deal, but a lot of it is just JUNK. Worthless, poorly made JUNK.

I never liked "Take it or Leave it" because it made me feel poorer than I actually was and my family and I are not poor, but we are not extremely wealthy either, just a little above average.

I don't want to assume anything, but I think I saw my mom shoplift a couple of times. One time we were at this touristy shell shop in Provincetown a couple of years ago and she liked this shell ring I had been wearing. I urged her to buy one herself, and then she decided no and I thought she put it back. Then a week or so later at home, I see it sitting on our stereo system.

The other time, it was winter and we were at AC Moore and as I was in the front seat of the car and looked back to see what was taking my mom so long to get into the drivers' seat, I saw her empty a dozen or so refrigerator photo magnets from UNDER her winter coat. I was too shocked to say anything. I have never brought this up or confronted her. I have never seen anymore incidents at all... but I'm worried that her free stuff addiction might lead into more shoplifting as she gets older.

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