• Taking another piece of my heart

    I had my heart broken again today. Nothing to do with lovers or death or any of that sort of thing, so you can keep reading.
    No, my heartbreak had to do with people.

    I had been doing some fall cleaning, sorting out the detritus of another lifetime, dividing my unwanted items into stacks and piles. Keep, repair, recycle, donate, put in the trash because who would want this stuff anyway?

    When I had amassed a goodly amount of “donate” items, I piled them in my car and headed for my favorite local charity shop. Oh, I patronize them all, but this is the one where I donate my good ol’ stuff because I like what they do with their proceeds.

    All the local thrift stores — and this one is no exception — put their more valuable items up front, near the clerks and behind glass. Jewelry, knick knacks, collectibles and have-to-haveables, all right there where I have to see them when I bring my donations by. They know my weakness, which is watches.
    It was getting near closing time, and I had timed it that way so I wouldn’t be tempted to cruise the store. But I couldn’t resist looking in the case at the watches and that led to a conversation with the volunteer behind the counter. We talked about why they don’t accept credit  cards and about bad checks, which led to more serious discussion. What he told me broke my heart.

    Not only do people pass bad checks at the charity shops, but they switch tags to get lower prices and even shoplift. Why I am surprised I don’t know, but it just somehow seemed that people wouldn’t do that, not in a charity shop, not in Pacific Grove.

    And he told me the story of a valuable chess set they had received, and that they had priced at $200 and put behind glass. A customer came in and convinced the volunteer on duty, a 90-year-old woman, that the price tag read $20 rather than $200, and she fell for it and sold it for $20.

    I can only imagine how that volunteer clerk felt when she found out someone had taken advantage of her. After standing there on her weary feet all day, dealing with customers and squalling children, trying to make change with a new-fangled cash register, watching the clock and watching for shoplifters as she stood in the draft near the door, she had been taken in by a shyster sort to the tune of $180. That was money that could have done good works in this town.

    That person who cheated the needy, cheated the rest of us, that person who ran all over that poor volunteer, wasn’t hungry or in need. If they had needed clothing or a warm blanket, they probably could have had it for the asking. But it’s hard to believe they needed that chess set. $180 would have gone a long way toward helping someone in need.

    Instead, there was another chip taken out of my faith in mankind, another piece of my heart was broken.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 9, 2010

    Topics: Front PG News, Uncategorized, Marge Ann Jameson


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