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Selling my Stuff

In the "Cult of Escapism": Selling my Stuff

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Selling my Stuff

“Save me this, Jack.”
“I'm not saving anything, you have to give me money for it to be yours.”
*Long pause.*
*The long pause extends to a longer pause.*
“OK, save it for me.”

I'm selling everything in my house. I've heard the stories of their last weeks in site from other volunteers that have already left: the scrambling, the bickering, the offense at not being chosen to receive your stove or your cooking pot. Showing up at your house on your last day and asking what you're going to give to them, instead of saying good bye. None of these are guarantees, but they have all happened to volunteers in their last weeks in site and it sounds disheartening and exhausting.

As such, I've spent months devising the best system to avoid this and have settled on a goal: to have everything in my house sold or otherwise accounted for by the beginning of my last month and to leave my community with nothing but a backpack. The system must:
  • Get rid of my possessions
  • Without playing favorites
  • Without offending anyone

I settled on selling everything at a steep discount and then using the money to buy stuff for community members. It may seem strange to sell things and then buy things for the same people, with the same money, but this system accomplishes three things:
  • It eliminates favoritism
  • Makes the people value what they've purchased
  • Gives me a budget with which to buy my favorite people presents
  • Allows me to use bullet points again, rather than write full sentences

To explain the second point, I've seen too many government handouts and charitable church donations that get disregarded because they were never given any value in the first place. I want people to pay, so that they value what they now own, so it's not just another addition to the mound of garbage in the backyard.

Additionally, after my experiences working with over 40 small stores and other small businesses, I'm operating a strict NO CREDIT policy, which confuses people but saves me money on headache medicine.
For Sale

So people show up and look around and tell me to save them stuff and I tell them no and they get really confused. I then explain that NOTHING is being saved for ANYBODY (which is...almost 100% true), and that to be the owner of something, I need to have the money in my hand. When I explain that I know how people here deal with credit, most people hesitate, then smile slyly, like they've just been caught stealing cookies, “ know us so well!”

I enjoy purging and this, this is the ultimate purge. Every few days, my house is a little more empty. I can already mentally fit everything I will save into my one backpack. So, with just over a month left in site, I'm quickly approaching the first of my goals. Most of my items are sold, my conscience is clear and I have just over $80 of budget dedicated solely to community gifts. Now I can spend my final month hanging with the people, finishing projects, and putting in some serious hammock time, without worrying about those last few days.


At August 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM , Blogger Ila said...

You're selling all the gifts I've sent you, aren't you. Dammit.

At August 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM , Blogger John Larigakis said...

Save me a hammock.


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