I need new tires and some car repairs more than I need another baking dish or cookbook, so I am passing up the estate sales for now. But I can still follow a friend's adventures out on the sale circuit, for she is indefatigable. She is out early, buying fossil rocks for her husband's collection or a set of bongo drums just because she can.
When I went over to work in her garden a week or so ago,we had coffee, and it was then that she showed me skirts, blouses, and a hat she had bought at a yard sale. They were trendy, slim little things for her 18 year old daughter. If the girl did not want them, my friend, who had spent next to nothing for them,planned to put them on E-bay.
What makes this interesting was that she picked these clothes up in an expensive neighborhood near her own. She saw the sign for the sale, and was one of the first inside.
The woman overseeing the sale said she was selling everything for a client. A client who had spent hundreds at Nordstrom's in Green Hills only a few weeks before. The clothes still had their $300.00 and $400.00 tags attached. Shiny new clothes,never worn,sold for a fraction of what they were worth at the mall.
My friend and I speculated about this. Why had the woman spent so lavishly and discarded so quickly? Was she crazy? A shopping addict? Perhaps she was newly dumped by a husband about to see what a woman scorned can do to his credit cards. Maybe it was a way to kill time on a dull day for a women bereft of what my mother would call"a lack of inner resources". And how may of us now strapped for cash,with fewer working hours and spending $4.00 a quart for orange juice,would spend money this carelessly?
I think most of us have spent money foolishly a few times in our lives. But this kind of excess has a whiff of sinfulness about it. It does not seem right.
And this is not new human behavior. Here is what the Greek, Epicurus, said about such acquisitiveness :
"Nothing is enough for someone for whom enough is little".