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A Rant About Priorities

December 7th, 2007 at 07:14 pm

Wow, I usually have trouble posting a few times a week so twice in one day is a lot for me. I just could not help myself. This morning I read an article in our small local paper that really got me thinking about people's priorities. Each year before the holidays the paper has a charity drive to collect money to help local people who cannot afford gifts for their kids for Christmas. I have no problem at all with this and actually am planning to send in a small donation. While we are certainly not rich, we are able to afford the bills and then some so I am happy to help others in need. Anyway, each day they run a short story about one of the families who is in need of help. I guess the idea is to personalize the need, put a face, names etc. to their cause. I also do not have a problem with their doing this and I am sure it is voluntary on the part of the families who are profiled. Todays story involved a young couple with three kids under the age of 9. The husband had been injured at work and his disability check barely covered their rent. The were collecting cans and turning them in for the deposits just to have some money for food, heat etc. I applaud their efforts to do extra to try to help themselves. What caught my attention was the statement that they did not know how they were going to buy food, put oil in the tank for the heater and their cable had already been shut off. This stopped me dead. Food, shelter, heat - yes, all necessities! Cable - not! Why didn't they cancel their cable when he was first injured? Have a little talk with the kids about how they needed to save since Daddy wasn't working and do without cable. I wanted to ask if they still had cell phone service! I am not trying to knock this particular family. I hope that they find a way out of this situation and that the husband fully recovers. I just don't understand the attitude of entitlement that so many seem to have. When hard times hit, they act like cable, cell phones and so many other things are necessities, rather than luxuries. If we had really tight times around here and no hope of any turn around soon, the cable would go, the cell phones would go (despite DD16 probably trying to report us for child abuse for that) etc. Since when do people feel like saving the $60 or so cable runs monthly is not worth it? It would pay for a weeks food! I just do not understand how people set their priorities these days. In the same vein I think about my friend who almost had her house sold at sherrifs sale. I am sure that they somehow found a new mortgage lender but they are still eating out often, buying tons of stuff for their kids etc. If they could not afford the old mortgage and they were in forclosure, I am sure the new one is for even higher interest etc. So, shouldn't they be scaling back and trying to save more to put towards what is probably a higher payment? Again, it seems to be a matter of priorities and feelings that what used to be considered luxuries are now necessities. Okay, enough rant for now. If I don't stop myself, I could go on for hours! I just find such attitudes very frustrating!

9 Responses to “A Rant About Priorities”

  1. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I understand. A family down the street where I live listed itself with the Salvation Army as being "in need" a few years ago. The woman "borrowed" $80 from me, never offered to make it up in some nonmonetary way. Her house has a giant screen TV, two large vehicles and a satellite dish.

    I do not have cable.
    We have one car.
    My television set is 19 years old.

    A woman driving her car down our street asked me about the 'family in need' who was requesting bicycles for three teens. I told her what I had seen, and of my encounters. The woman said 'thanks. I had to choose between this family and the other, who lost the mother to a suicide and left very young children behind. My decision is made.'

  2. PauletteGoddard Says:

    I understand. A family down the street where I live listed itself with the Salvation Army as being "in need" a few years ago. The woman "borrowed" $80 from me, never offered to make it up in some nonmonetary way. Her house has a giant screen TV, two large vehicles and a satellite dish.

    I do not have cable.
    We have one car, a subcompact that is eleven years old.
    My television set is 19 years old.

    A woman driving her car down our street asked me about the 'family in need' who was requesting bicycles for three teens. I told her what I had seen, and of my encounters. The woman said 'thanks. I had to choose between this family and the other, who lost the mother to a suicide and left very young children behind. My decision is made.'

  3. Ima saver Says:

    I agree completely!! I talked to one lady who was telling me what a hard time they had paying their bills. But she, her husband and teen daughter all had cell phones. The parents both smoke and they have several horses and other animals (I really am an animal lover, but if you can't afford to feed them, you should not have them.)

  4. Caoineag Says:

    Yeah, I have seen this alot. Though for both cable and cells, if you are poor but on contract you can be punished with fees that aren't affordable. For example, my last cell plan required $400 to get out of (though worth it to me because they were really that bad) and I do know some cable companies offer deals that require 2 years of service as well.

    That said, its amazing how many people mistake a luxury for a necessity. Its also amazing how many people ignore a bill rather than call to make arrangements when they know they are going to be short. Ignoring a problem doesn't make the problem go away...

  5. fern Says:

    Everyone has different priorities, and what's important to one person is not at all important to someone else. I don't think it's a black/white situation.

    I've never paid for anything more than basic cable, becus i don't think it's worth the cost, but maybe for a family with 3 young children it is more important. You really can't judge other people unless you live inside their shoes for a week. Maybe for them, an SUV is not even on their radar, while for someone else it's a must have. Or cell phones.

  6. Amber Says:

    I'd rather have a $400 cancellation fee than living in my car. You are right some people have their priorities all mixed up. At one point I was one of them, but when I lived on my own I did go with out a lot of things

  7. disneysteve Says:

    While I agree with you in general, it is hard to judge based on limited info. We happen to have limited basic cable. Our monthly bill is $11.10, hardly a frivolous amount. If we fell upon hard times and had to give up dining out, going to movies and theaters, traveling and other things we currently do for entertainment, cable is probably one thing we'd try and hang onto as long as possible since it is very cheap entertainment for the 3 of us. There are a lot of things I'd cut before I pulled the plug on the TV. Yes, we could go back to our antenna and the 6 fuzzy stations we get with that, but for $11/month, I'd do my best to keep the cable on.

    That said, I agree that many people confuse luxuries with necessities and have very misplaced priorities.

  8. baselle Says:

    I think this problem is even deeper than confusing luxuries with necessities. I understand that part.

    What I don't understand is the total inability to respond to a desperate situation. I don't have any doubts that any of us here, if our back was truly against the wall, wouldn't think twice about giving up cable or anything else to provide for the basics - food, heat, shelter.

    What are we talking about here? Its the idea that the first thing people do is look to others - charity, craigslist begging, credit cards - to keep up appearances rather than looking to themselves first to cut back and cut back hard.

  9. baselle Says:

    Another thought - giving up cable might be even more important if you are desperate. Cutting yourself off from all that advertising should ease wanting the luxuries. If you don't know about all the crap that you can buy, you would stop buying it.

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