Quote of the day

Loading Quotes...


What is ‘poor’ in the US?

I know, the poverty threshold is about $11,000 for an individual and $22,000 for a family of four. But I’m not realy talking about that, let me explain. I got a mailing the other day from a local charity, one that actually does some great work.

There was a list of needs, things that people would need such as gift cards to grocery stores and hardware stores along with toiletries and other household items. What struck me, though, was “new 27in. color TV.” Where was I when a new TV went from a want to a need? I called up and said that I had a 27in. TV/DVR combo, cable ready, a couple years old. They said, “Thanks, but we were looking for a new one, you know, the flat screen.” What’s wrong with this picture?

Joe

  • Nick April 30, 2009, 12:23 am

    I heard the results of an interesting study the other day on the ride home from work that has to do with your post. It’s a study dating back to 1973 that looks at how people view various household items: as luxuries or necessities. Interestingly, the TV set has decreased on the necessities scale, running counter to what this person seems to think. Judging from the downward trend in all goods from 2006 – 2009, seems like you could make the argument that the downturn has not surprisingly affected our attitude towards these items.

    http://pewsocialtrends.org/pubs/733/luxury-necessity-recession-era-reevaluations

    Now back to studying..

    Enjoy

  • JOE April 30, 2009, 7:10 pm

    Well, Jennifer, it’s a single location, Metro West (i.e area here west of Boston) charity which otherwise does some great work, as I posted. Some of these charities also declare a stop on other types of donations, women’s clothing for one, as they try to balance their own supply/demand. Some of these actions I understand. A poor person refusing my cable ready color TV I still don’t get.
    Thanks for visiting.

  • Jennifer @ Money Saver 101 April 30, 2009, 6:56 pm

    This is exactly what I talk about on my blog. Everyone’s friggin greedy, and if they don’t have the latest and greatest, they don’t feel good about themselves. What a bunch of moochers. Seriously! I would like to know which charity this is. You should, in all honesty, expose them. That’s sick.

  • Alan Schram May 2, 2009, 7:52 pm

    While I do agree that this does seem to come across as a little odd, let me play Devil’s Advocate for a little bit.

    During one of my previous jobs, we met in the morning near a Salvation Army (thrift store). The amount of absolute crap that was left there was astounding. They had to sort and sift through so much broken and useless junk. So when I hear that a charity is looking for some higher quality donations, I’m not surprised. They are probably sick of getting way too much junk from people who are trying to empty out their garages and closets while feeling good and claiming the tax deduction.

    So sure, your cable ready color TV might be decent, but there are literally THOUSANDS of them out there for free (search craigslist). The charity might have a whole basement full of them. They probably just want to provide higher quality donations.

  • Mike @ The Thrifty Life May 3, 2009, 7:58 am

    I fully support thrift shops like Goodwill, Salvation Army and especially ones like our local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. But while donations constantly come through their doors, there’s always a steady stream of stuff leaving the store in the hands of happy customers. There’s always new stuff on the shelves, and especially in this economy their business is up.

    The person who wants a TV, probably can’t search craigslist, so acquiring a TV through that venue is most likely not an option – same with Freecycle or any other website. So a thrift shop is a great option and one thats local to them.

    But… Trying to provide higher quality donations? A TV is a TV. That in and of itself is a luxury item. On top of that – keep in mind the person who ends up getting a 27″ television is probably not going to be getting a free over-the-air signal. They’re going to go sign-up for cable and pay a nice fat monthly fee to watch a television that they couldn’t afford in the first place.

    What rubs me the wrong way is that they would be unwilling to take your donation at all. Regardless of their target or goal donation, a gift of charity is just that – a gift – and it should be accepted and offered to those who could use it.

  • fafi February 1, 2012, 4:11 pm

    What rubs me the wrong way is that they would be unwilling to take your donation at all. Regardless of their target or goal donation, a gift of charity is just that – a gift – and it should be accepted and offered to those who could use it.

Leave a Comment