Charity or Sharing: A dignified blurring of the lines

Last month, I picked up some Keebler Pecan Sandies on a drug store deal with the intention of giving them to Working Poor Mom/Family. But she didn’t come to collect her goodie bags fast enough, and I…I…I opened the package and ate some. For breakfast. In an effort to save my waistline, I taped up the package, put it back in the bags of groceries earmarked for her and gave her the option of rejecting the open cookies. Hah, as if – those cookies are too tasty. Her take on the cookies was “we’re sharing”. I liked that…we’re sharing.

Now fast-forward to this past weekend, where my mom observed my purchase of 4 medium-size bottles of Excedrin, 12 bottles of French’s mustard, 2 bags of Chex Mix, 3 lbs of hamburger meat, 1 lb. of mozzarella, 2 bags of salad and 2 big bottles of Kraft salad dressing for a grand total of … $9.09 (total based on sale prices but before coupons: $35.10). Although she knows I have this “adopted family”, she didn’t understand this grocery order — What are you going to do with 3 lbs of meat, you’re one person? That salad is only good until the 14th, you’d have to be a rabbit to get through it all! If you’re trying to lose weight, why are you buying ranch dressing and chocolate chex? All very valid questions until I explained stockpiling and my new concept of sharing.

I kept 3 of the 4 Excedrin, half the meat, half the cheese, half the salad, half the dressing. Even using coupons and sale prices, that alone would have cost me $14 in Manhattan in a very good week. So I felt like I got $6 off my stuff by shopping in the ‘burbs, and the rest of it was a bonus for my adopted family (well, not all the mustard – most of it goes to the shelter, which is always in need of condiments). I hauled it all back to NYC on the train, cooked or froze the meat, and bagged up the rest to give away. I explained this plan to my mom, and she asked on Wednesday after my weekly visit with Ayten (a.k.a. “Working Poor Mom”) how it went with the meat, etc. It must have gotten her wheels turning, because this morning…

Mom called to discuss a great deal on a big ham shank, wondering if there was a way to make it work for my “broke-ass family”. Hard not to laugh – there was a time when she and the rest were my broke-ass family! Anyway, back to the hunk o’ ham… It was just .49/lb but would weigh in at around 8-10 lbs. I told her to get it, cut off whatever she wants for her purposes, I’d cut off whatever I wanted for myself, and the rest would go to Ayten and her kids. If it turns out they’re not ham-lovers, then it could go to the teen shelter. Once she established that there was no such thing as a food shopping mistake, she sounded quite happy with herself over her “find”…and then, in order to appear less of a dork for getting all excited about cheap ham, threw in: 

“Well, we had to get them something to go with all that free mustard!”


3 Responses

  1. Hahaha! You had me laughing with the last comment. I don’t know if I could ‘share’. Between family members. But as the broke ass family… Although I would enjoy what you are doing, I would get a weird feeling if you gave me a opened package, especially ham.

    Well, I hope it taste yummy!

    • I know it’s weird, and it would never have occurred to me to “share” an opened package of anything edible. But it started with the cookies that I just had to get out of the house, and she did not mind one bit. I guess I just see this as a way of taking advantage of bulk pack pricing that I wouldn’t otherwise. However, I’m now thinking that she might not feel that way about things like meat, so I’m glad I’m clearing this one with her first based on food preferences – it gives her a face-saving way to decline. Thanks for reminding me about the nuances inherent in this sort of thing.

  2. What a hoot – I love the way you do this! You are great at getting “out of the box”. And Ayten has a wonderful point of view on “how to receive”. It truly is all in how you look at it. Times are tough and making the best of it any way we can is awesome.

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