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Need Something? Ask for It

Remember my promise to spend and consume less this month? This weekend I was weighing that promise and my commitment to reduce against a desire for my kid to look like everyone else.

Big Girl is on a soccer team. Back when she first joined, we ordered her uniform at the local soccer shop. When my husband went to pick it up, he was informed that the shop was out of shorts. It was fine, though, because it was pretty cold by that time. She just wore leggings along with one of the two flimsy shirts that we ended up buying. The season went on and I must admit that I just forgot about picking up the shorts. It was a low priority. Still, a uniform is a uniform so when the next season started, I went back to the store to buy the shorts. The shop, which is only open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 6, was out of them again. Again! I made two additional attempts and decided it wasn’t worth it. Then came spring season.

This Sunday I sat watching all the kids running around. Big Girl was the only child on the field who wasn’t wearing those stupid shorts. Feeling like a horrible mommy, once the game was over I grabbed the baby — not remembering that the place was closed on Sundays– and went over to the shop. Ten minutes later I stood in front of that locked door muttering under my breath. There had to be a better way.

Driving home I passed a garage sale. I decided to jump out and look around. I walked through the boxes of dolls, books, and toys but didn’t see what I needed: the pair of size small maroon shorts with the little Nike swoop on the leg. I saw the homeowner sitting there, though, with his two little girls and figured it was worth a shot. “Excuse me, you don’t happen to have any soccer shorts for sale?” The guy turned to his daughters, who appeared to be a few years older than Big Girl and repeated my question. One of them jumped up and went inside. Two minutes later she was standing there holding a new-looking pair of soccer shorts with the little swoop on the leg. I was excited but cautious. How much, I wanted to know. I couldn’t beat the price: $2, and he would throw in the five paperback books, a Cooties game, and the Polly Pocket house I had been carrying around. Score!

I lugged my spoils home and spread them out on the table. My husband was incredulous. Only I could go out to a garage sale and come home with what I was looking for, he said. But I disagree. I think anyone can go on their own treasure hunt and come up a winner. If we want or need something, chances are someone else has needed or wanted that same thing at some point in time. There is someone out there who owns what you need and they’re probably looking to get rid of it. Maybe not for $2, but for a price.

So I say, as someone who saved $30 and all the environmental costs associated with buying new, it’s worth asking around for what you want. Try Craigslist, Freecycle.org, garage sales, consignment shops, your neighbors, your friends, eBay. You never know unless you try, right? (And FWIW: The shorts fit Big Girl fabulously, and she loves her new books and toys, too.)

What’s your best used buy? Where do you shop when you don’t want to spend a lot of money?

2 Responses to “Need Something? Ask for It”

  1. Lori says:

    I love this post because I am all for this concept and I have done this myself. A few years ago I was going on a cruise with my husband and 9 year old son. I didn’t want to spend $40 dollars on a dress jacket for a 9 year old when I knew he was only going to wear it once.
    This prompted me to post a message on our neighborhood/community website asking if anyone had a size 8 dress blazer for a boy. Within a day or so I had the blazer in my hand. From a total stranger, but it was free. After I used it, I had it dry cleaned, and returned it. I love the idea of Neighborrow.

    And last weekend, our community had their spring garage sale and I went out specifically looking for 5 lb weights and an immersion blender. At every house I went to, I asked if they were selling those two items. Turns out, no one was, but everyone seemed to like that I was asking for what I wanted.

    Once this school year is over, I will have lots of uniform shirts and khaki pants that my son will not want to look at ever again to give away to anyone who wants them. I love to give things away to people who need them just as much as I love to obtain things I need as well. 🙂

    I am glad you found the shorts. 🙂

  2. kb says:

    Lori, Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your great comments. I love that you got a jacket for your son. And thanks for the tip about Neighborrow. I think it deserves to be a Friday Favorites!

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