Who knew there were so many thrift stores to choose from!?!? And who knew about all of their good causes? You can support abused animals, senior citizens, missionaries, or food banks with your donations! It was a difficult choice, but given the current economy, I decided to support the food banks, because I know there are a lot of people in our community struggling to make ends meet, so I want to be sure that the 1,665 children who were fed by our local food bank last year will also be fed this year.
(It also happens to be the thrift store located next to my favorite coffee stand, and since I was wearing my good Samaritan hat, I decided nobody would recognize me if I pulled up to the stand and paid cash for one cup of coffee. So I did.)
In fact, I was feeling so good about unloading my “stuff” that it didn’t even faze me when the nice lady at the thrift store took one look at my parade of clothing donations and stopped to ask if I was sure I had anything left at home to wear. I assured her that I did. (But I spared her the details of Mt. Laundry and my need to shop for the appropriate amount of underwear to support my laundress skills–or lack thereof.)
Meanwhile, my children saw the sign outside of the donations door and asked why there was a picture of a little girl there. Recognizing this as another teachable moment, I proceeded to explain that there are a lot of Mommas and Poppas without jobs right now who can’t afford to buy food for their families, and so our donations will get sold for enough money to buy food for people who don’t have jobs right now. “Why don’t they have jobs?” my kids asked. What transpired for the next 20 minutes in our car was something of a Macro Economics lesson on the collapse of the housing market, the financial crisis in the banking industry, and the fear faced by large corporations that hiring people might marginally impact their revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year. I’m pretty sure that my dissertation rivaled my Econ 101 final essay back in college. I can’t remember exactly what I wrote, but judging by my grade in that class, I’m pretty sure my explanation to my five-year old yesterday was superior. If nothing else, I thought I may have successfully cured my children of their “Why” questions.
That was … until we passed a garbage truck on the highway. My son is five. For some unexplained reason, this garbage truck was far more fascinating than my explanation of the American Economy. Although, I’m pretty sure my lesson resonated, because his comment was “good thing that garbage man still has his job, huh?” I agreed and thought–see, he gets it! Then, my daughter had to go and ask why the garbage man doesn’t come to our house. I explained that we recycle, so we haul our own recycling to the recycling center, and therefore don’t need the garbage man to come to our house. That’s when my son needed to connect the dots. “So, what you’re telling me is that if everybody recycled like we do, that garbage man would lose his job, and his kids would be hungry?”
Yeah, buddy. I know. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s why I had to take Economics twice.