Is that a weird thing to say? How can you assign value to something that is defined by its lack of value. After all, when you are poor then you are supposed to be lacking in things of value.
I once worked in a retail store and had to assign prices to items that arrived in the store without a tag. Sometimes, it would be easy because the items were sent with a packing list that showed our cost. In that case, I would factor in our profit, add that to our cost and that would be the customer’s price.
Other times, we just had to look at it and wonder. I would ask myself, “What would you pay for this?” Most of the time, I wouldn’t want to buy it at all and cheated our store by assigning a low price. People would sometimes pay all of this money for a little ceramic spoon because it had a little painted blue flower on it. I knew ceramics from my friend who was an artist. I wouldn’t buy that little spoon, but someone would. After buying the spoon, would they be poor? No. I don’t think so. Although we had their money, they would be happy with their little spoon.
I imagine them now, in their small house in the inner city, talking with the rest of the family about their quest for the spoon. They went to so many stores, saw so many spoons and finally, finally, there it was. In our little store, they found their little ceramic spoon with the little blue bird.
Meanwhile, our store has since been sold because the owner put her kids through college and didn’t need the aggravation any more. She had lost weight, hair and a lot of sleep working to make that money at the store. Her kids appreciated her putting them through school, but now, they lived on their own.
I was trying to fix a cup of tea to have with my husband. There was one spoon in the kitchen. The rest were in the sink, but this last one was clean. It did not resemble the others because it had a little flowery design on the edge. He told me a story about the spoon. We laughed about the spoon and called it our baby spoon because he’s my baby and I’m his.
Then, we wondered about how we were going to pay the phone bill. Selling the spoon never crossed our minds. Now, I think of it and… nope. This is the value of poverty. It teaches what to value.