Sunday, 9 April 2017

Your last $10

Some seemingly trivial  things stick with you for years.   The reason probably says something about ourselves.    I watched a news program many years ago -- at least 15 years -- that I have thought about, and talked about,  more than a few times.  It featured  an American family that had fallen on hard times.   I don't remember the details other than they lived in a mobile home park and had children.   I can still visualize the young woman, dark blonde hair and a round, distressed face.    They were down to their last ten dollars; no food in the house.   She told the interviewer that she only had enough to go to the store and buy a pack of disposable diapers for the baby.   Then they would be broke and hungry, presumably until the next wage or government assistance cheque arrived.

I wanted to reach out to her through the television and say, NO!  The last thing you need to buy with that ten dollars is disposable diapers.   That kind of thinking is a large part of the reason you're in this present situation.  Would she have listened to me?   Was she already relying on learned helplessness to try yet again to implore someone, anyone to save her family.

What should she have done with that last ten dollars?   What would I have advised her to do?     This website, 50 lbs of Beans and Rice took up a challenge and purchased 25 lb bags of each for $21.98.   This article is from 2010 and there will be some inflation so I will tweak the figures a little and advise our subject to  buy half of that for $11.  Assuming inflation has increased her $10 to $15,   that leaves $2 for some bulk spices and $2 for some bulk oatmeal.   The author of Beans and Rice post writes that the 25 lb. bags would feed one adult for 40 days.  Half that should take care of the broke family for at least a week or so.  Boring but doable in the short run.  In any spare time plans could be made for a vegetable garden.   You can check out the details for yourself. 

All in all, more useful than a box of disposable diapers.   The unfortunate mother could make some cloth ones from old towels or tea towels.    Desperate times call for sensible measures.

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