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I took the kids to Goodwill tonight so I could get Ronald some pants. I got some bras for myself, some cleaners, some school paper, and a Halloween costume for Olivia. My total was $36.60.

I made some comment like “Can’t beat that!” and the woman behind me chimes in with “That’s a lot of money when you don’t have anything to spend…” in such a way that would indicate that she doesn’t have $36.60 to spend and I was throwing money away or being frivolous. I can assure you that I wasn’t being frivolous.

The pants: Ronald had the same pants for a year. My mom did buy him some shorts over the summer, but he hasn’t had new pants since around the time of his 12th birthday. He just turned 13. He was literally wearing his last pair of pants that fit, and there was a giant hole in the knee. Kids at school were starting to notice that he was wearing the same pants, and he was walking funny because they were too small. It was only about three weeks that he had to do that, but it was about three weeks too long. I bought him 4 pairs of pants, costing $2.99 each.

The bras: All but two of my bras are nursing bras and those, as well as one of the non-nursing bras are way, way too big. I’m not done nursing yet but the size of my chest would imply otherwise. I declared as much as three months ago that I needed new bras. I still didn’t get new bras. I got used ones. From Goodwill. So pardon my frivolous spending of $1.99 each on four bras but they were needed.

The paper: The kids need it for school. Once you’re in the higher grades in school, you go through a lot of paper. They sell it there for 69 cents.

The cleaners: They’re new cleaners, sold at the front of the store, but they’re cheaper than the dollar stores around here. I have children and desire a clean home for them.

The Halloween costume: Okay, so when it comes to things people need when they’re poor, Halloween costumes doesn’t rate that high but I bought it at the Goodwill for $1.99, with the tags on it. I call that a bargain, and my by-then-3-year-old wants to dress up and get candy. I don’t think I’m being wasteful there either.

I understand being hard up. I really, really do. I have had similar thoughts inside my head when the person in front of me was spending $1,000 on a tv and I could barely afford batteries for the remote, but I kept them to myself. It’s not their fault, nor is it my fault that spending $36.60 on three big bags of stuff at the thrift store seems like a gross display of wealth to her.

It seems like no matter where  person turns, they’re doing it wrong. When it comes down to it, I shouldn’t care what someone else thinks, but I think it needs to be said again that perhaps we should worry a little less about what’s coming out of someone else’s wallet and assume a little less that people are just throwing money around that they could spend on necessities. I’m truly sorry that the woman behind me tonight is in such a bad place that she looked upon me as rich, but rich is something that I definitely am not.

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