This morning in the bath, to my shock HORROR, I realized that I have managed to yet again plough through yet another bottle of overpriced (the only thing that really works) shampoo.
I am a brat, always have been, always will be. (it’s not a good thing, its just the truth) In the not so distant past my family went through what can be described as a personal financial recession (love that word, everyone is using it so I am too even if it doesn’t quite work here), so luxuries (to me necessities) such as dermalogica “special cleansing gel”, joico shampoo, pedicures, and (my best) eating at foodie hangouts was a bit out of reach, a fantasy if you will. Actually more like a distant memory of my teen years.
But i survived, pantene and all, and can now straighten my own hair, and paint other people’s nails, still not my own, but above all and most importantly, I have become a bonafide scavenger.
I am the person who asks for samples, I’m super crafty, here are just a couple of the tricks i know work because I invented them! boo yah! You go : “Oh, Yeah I’m really interested in this product, but my skin is just so sensitive I have like 6 different moisturisers at home and they all made me break out, so could you give me enough for a couple of days, just to make sure I don’t have a delayed reaction.” *smile coyly*
or another favorite for perfume : “Could I possibly buy a few samples from you, I use them for my lingerie drawer, and I think the house keeper has nicked them?” The sweet ladies behind the counter never make you pay, and you are guaranteed to get at least 3 different ones.
Now these tactics also work at ice cream shops, specially if there is a guy working behind the counter.
The one place scavenging never works is at a bar, or the pharmacy (different kind of scavenging, elude the doctor kind of thing, because seriously who has R250.00 to give some dude, to tell you what you already know see you for 15 minutes and bam! I’ve been sick enough times to identify when i need antibiotics for the flu, seriously.)
When I saw the film “friends with money”, I it warmed up a place in my heart, knowing that there are more of me out there – Jennifer Aniston’s character. (you have to see it if you haven’t)
But the point that I’m slowly getting to, is not that there are still enough sweet stupid people in the world to give you free stuff when you are seriously down and out, but that at some point during the times we are in more people are going to have to learn to suck it up, learn humility, be at some stranger’s mercy for a slice of their own dignity.
You are going to have to learn to ask for stuff that you can’t afford, help you can’t repay ,and you too are going to be asked by friends, neighbors and strangers. Many people see this as a world crisis, and in terms of money it is, no doubt, but for the human spirit there can be no better test of endurance than the lack of means, people band together, women remember why they love their husbands, and children grow up regarding their parents as hero’s even if they didn’t have all the things the other kids did.
I used to embarrass my mom so badly when it happened to us the first time round, back in the 80’s clinging of to the “my little pony” dress in Woolworths, for dear life, as I believed then, that what I can touch is automatically mine, but things had changed, and both my mom and myself would sit in the car on the ride home, eyes red and swollen from crying, and her evidently more battle worn that I (I used to bite back then too).
The best thing in life is to take a step back, listen, learn and ask for help, be confident, because you are still a person, money maketh not the man (or woman), and when your ship does come in, remember those days and nights, working, stumbling, and running. Stay humble, and be that humble person that once asked for help, and now has the means to give.
(Also from a movie) The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road back, with humility.
Back to the empty shampoo, which I can now afford. Yes I will go to the shops tomorrow and go buy the overpriced shampoo, but don’t for one second think I’ll walk out of there without a free sample of something, or a 5 % discount at the very least. I try to stay humble, but the scavenger bit is going to take some work to get rid of.