Going to a posh private school from the age of 4, and continuing through the same school until 18, diving in skips wasn’t one of the lessons I learned.
My mother snobbishly abhorred sales, and totally refused to queue with the masses, preferring to pay full price and receive grovelling treatment from sales staff.
Personally, I couldn’t see anything wrong with getting something decent for a cheaper price, although I didn’t buy into (ha!) buying something for the sake of it just because it was cheap.
Oddly enough, some years back, I was happily working away at a reasonable job, earning a reasonable salary, and neighbours were offering me their cast-offs. Why didn’t they offer it to someone else who needed it? The illogic defied me, but I did put my foot down and decided for once, I would buy something I wanted, instead of having a home full of other people’s crap.
Fast forward however, and accepting cast-offs suddenly becomes A Good Thing in Spain.
I have no income, so if someone gives me something, it costs me nothing, apart from a payback of whatever type.
When we first moved to Spain, our neighbours would present us with all their leftover meals. It was like a soup kitchen. I was mortified. I ate it of course, wondering what on earth I was doing. Did I appear so poverty-stricken??
I didn’t know if my neighbour had deliberately cooked too much, to pass the food onto us, or whether she always cooked loads. Who can say?
But I learned to accept whatever meals we were given with an extremely good grace, washed up whatever pans/plates were given to us, and said Gracias.
I was horrified when Partner started to haul bikes onto the terrace that he had rescued from the side of the skip. Why did we want all these pushbikes? What was he going to do with them?
Apparently not just he, but we, were going to cycle. He cast his expert eye over the rescues. Bit of cable, a couple of wheel nuts, and we were ready to go. (Original post here). To be fair though, people had money at the time in Spain, and they were throwing bikes out like there was no tomorrow. Some of the bikes were decent. No-one throws out bikes any more.
Four green garden chairs were rescued (still have those), two white chairs were acquired (since gone back to the skip when they broke), a few plants, missed a couple of wrought iron chairs sadly because we were too slow in going back to a more distant skip, and then the sources dried up.
But! We have had a recent find in Gib. Ten years or so ago, I bought a metal bucket, and when we bought our finca, there was a nice little mop squeezer thing left behind by the previous owner which fitted nicely on the top, just right for my new domestic cleaning life.
Now, it is sadly perishing in the heat and the damp and with the over-use.
I tried to buy a new one. ‘No,’ said the man in the shop. ‘Unidad.’ I had to buy a bucket as well, ie the whole unit. Er, I don’t think so. I had a bucket. Somewhere, surely, I must be able to find one of those squeezy-out things that would fit my round bucket? And not have to buy another bucket? Just for information, the current wave of buckets and squeezy-outs are sort of oval shape. I wondered if they had stopped making the ones to fit round buckets.
Partner came home extremely smugly the other day. In his carrier bag, there was the perfect squeezy-out, generously thrown out by someone who no longer had any use for it on the estate where Partner is working. They have probably bought an oval ‘Unidad’ because you have to buy new all the time, don’t you?
ETA – more on this theme of our
disgraceful and irresponsible throwaway society over on Clouds here.