small things

I love this kitchen tip- put a quarter on top of a cup of ice in your freezer if the quarter ever drops down in the cup you will know that your freezer has thawed and then refrozen.

It’s a good tip.  But it’s interesting the assumption that most people aren’t going to notice.

I’ve shared before about back when we were very poor, so poor we picked up money off the street to do laundry or pay for toiletries, so poor we didn’t have electricity, and I sometimes washed a load of clothes in the bathtub.  I was in a Bible study with a group of Filipino friends, all of them are professionals (a different group from the congregation where we worship).  The class was on money and I had mentioned our former poverty a couple times.  I realized at one point I needed to explain.
“I know,” I said, “that being poor in America is nothing like being poor in the Philippines. I know that.  We were not as poor as the most poverty stricken here.  But we were poor in ways not entirely typical for America, either.” I explained about the lack of food and the no electricity (but we did have gas and running water and a solid roof).  It helped to put things in some perspective.  And even in our more dire than typical circumstances, some of them were so dire because we wouldn’t ask for help.  In the Philippines, there are people living in shanties and shacks with no running water or electricity ankle deep in flood water after an average rain storm, and anybody they might ask for help is living in the same circumstances.

Later when we were chatting, I said one other interesting difference I had noticed is that when we were so poor, we could collect some change, enough to do a load of laundry or two, or buy cheap shampoo by picking up change in the road or parking lots of stores, or near vending machines.  I haven’t seen vending machines here, and I also have never seen any change in the street at all.  Not so much as a centavo (it takes about ten of them to make up a 2 cent coin).   You see less change in the U.S. these days because we are less and less of a cash based society. People use cards for everything now, sometimes even vending machines.  But the Philippines is a cash based economy.  We pay our utilities and rent in cash. We have to go to the office to pay the utility bills, including the internet.  Occasionally we find a place that takes a card, but it’s not common, and it’s not often.  And yet, nobody leaves coins on the ground.

The helpful tip above about leaving a quarter on the top of a cup of ice is so much a tip from a well developed, wealthy nation.  I’m not talking about  presuming a refrigerator, we had an ice chest back in the day, but the refrigerator is a different category of thing.  I’m talking about the money.  It’s the quarter that catches my attention.  Why does it need to be a unit of money? You could use a stone, a pebble, a screw, a paperclip, a metal washer,  a magnet, a marble, anything at all that sinks in water.  That sort of easy, careless attitude about money is only possible in a comfortable economy like America’s.

But it’s only a quarter, you say?

Exactly.

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One Comment

  1. Christine Shah
    Posted September 26, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Lol. I saw this tip years ago and scoffed at using a quarter…but I did use a penny. I could have used anything else but I was more of an in-the-box thinker then and the tip said to use a coin. 😂😂 A quarter was too much, though. I saved them for the kids’pocket money and grocery money! Now I will leave a quarter in the cart at Aldi’s every time because I know what it is to buy eggs with pennies and nickels.

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