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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rescue Missions: Frugal or Insane?

Everyone I know seems to have a rescue dog. My sister-in-law cares for (rescue) feral cats. These are worthy endeavors.

I have rescue stuff. Thrift store shopping is by definition a rescue mission. I am drawn to the imperfect rejects: the cashmere sweater with a tiny hole, the cookbook with stained pages. How could someone cast off something with such a minor defect? I suppose I am thinking of my own defects and imperfections: minor and not so minor.

A recent rescue: At the New Orleans Airport, we were sitting neat a few business travelers, all male, with that aura of success. The one with the most obvious aura got up, said loudly "After 25 years, it's time to say good-bye." Walked over to the trash and dramatically threw out a small travel bag. It looked nice to me.

I figured his performance was public, so I said Why are you throwing it out? He said The bottom split. Do you want it?

I said I have a tendency to rescue things, so OK. He went back to the trash, fished it out, and presented it to me.

It was a Ghurka bag, a bit stained, but still nice. Kinda like this, only without the outside pocket. I told him we would try to fix it. He seemed happy. He told me he had carried the bag on trips for 25 years, many to Europe.

As the concept person (see my post on harder-than-they-look window treatments!), I rely on people with know-how to get things done. Enter Mr FS. He glued the bag from the inside. He used PL Loctite Sealant.

Honestly, the bag is so neat that I would duct tape it from the outside if necessary.

Are rescues an inherently virtuous activity? I don't know. They can lead to clutter. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Unless it's hobby I enjoy*, I have a rule about rescues. I only rescue a broken thing if I plan to fix it and use it immediately. I consider my household chores and clutter level -- Will I have time to do it right away? Do I have space for it? Would I rather read a book or watch a movie or do something else that matters to me?

*I have rescued a few vintage sewing machines. I cleaned and repaired them, and thoroughly enjoyed the process, whether I planned to keep them or not.

Rosa said...

I own so few personal effects that it doesn't bother me to buy new or get rid of something that another might see as a rescue.

I'm a rescuer myself, however, when it comes to tools that I use in my work as an artist!

However, about the bag: I wonder if Gurka (or the company that made it?) would replace the damaged bag gratis, no matter the age, the way a company like Lands' End would, no matter the age.

Duchesse said...

I only rescue sentient beings, but after years of some rather overly dependent relationships, I learned not to rescue men, either.

I am with you, though, in feeling sad when someone throws out an item that could be repaired and still enjoyed. I just don't want more stuff, so I wish *they* would do the repair.

Anonymous said...

Your doctor FS is so much like my DH. One time I purchased a wooden fan for pennies at a thrift. when we got it home, I realized that one blade was less than perfect--he restrung it for me and removed the offending blade.

We often speak of Zen flaws at our house. An imperfection heightens the quality of what surrounds it.

Northmoon said...

I've rescued and repaired various items in my neighbourhood on garbage day, but I try not to do this anymore. My house is full enough and I've been enjoying decluttering lately. I don't want to get into hoarder territory!

I've also rescued several stray cats and have a dog adopted from a rescue organization. Fixed him up with diet, excercise and obedience classes.

Duchesse, if only rescue men were as easy to fix! I too learned the hard way to not go there.

Northmoon said...

Of course the stray cats all got 'fixed' right away too!!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Miss M--The sewing machines sound neat and I wish I had your discipline.

@Rosa--I checked and they do repair, for a price, but I like my DIY repair.

@Duchesse--I've never rescued a man--guess I didn't miss out on anything. One day, you need to write your memoirs.

@Terri--They are treasures, aren't they? Mr FS takes on too much though and many projects remain in the wings.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Northmoon--I did donate some bags of things to GW this weekend. Trying to get rid of more than I bring home.