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Wide White: Forgive me for my lack of sympathy

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Forgive me for my lack of sympathy

I feel bad for people who have lost jobs and can't afford their modest living. But there are a few examples in this story that bring no tears to my eyes.
Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet
...
Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.
...
"This is not about downsizing. It's about needing gas money," said Nancy Baughman, founder of eBizAuctions, an online auction service she runs out of her garage in Raleigh, N.C. One former affluent customer is now unemployed and had to unload Hermes leather jackets and Versace jeans and silk shirts.
Wait a minute, this isn't about downsizing, but a "former affluent customer" has to unload Hermes jackets and Versace jeans? And we're supposed to feel bad?

I feel worse for this woman.
In Daleville, Ala., Ellona Bateman-Lee has turned to eBay and flea markets to empty her three-bedroom mobile home of DVDs, VCRs, stereos and televisions.

She said she needs the cash to help pay for soaring food and utility bills and mounting health care expenses since her husband, Bob, suffered an electric shock on the job as a dump truck driver in 2006 and is now disabled.
However, you still have to admit that if our society valued OWNING things rather than using credit for everything, even losing a job wouldn't always have the same impact that it does (unless it puts you below the ability to pay rent, utilities, etc.). In other words (without knowing the entire background of this person), if the money that went to the "DVDs, VCRs, stereos and televisions" (notice that all of those words are plural) went towards paying down debt instead, is it possible she'd be in a better situation? I would sure think so.

Here's another example that I just can't sympathize with.
Christine Hadley, a 53-year-old registered nurse from Reading, Pa., says she used to be "a clotheshorse," splurging on pricey Dooney & Bourke handbags. But her live-in boyfriend left last year, and she has had trouble finding a job.

Piles of unpaid bills forced her to sell more than 80 items, including the handbags, which went for more than $1,000 on a site called AuctionPal.com. Now, except for some artwork and threadbare furniture, her house is looking sparse.

"I need the money for essentials — to pay my bills and to eat," Hadley said.
I'm not even going to comment on that one.

I have friends who have lost jobs or have been looking for jobs for a while. It's no fun. But those who are weathering the storm well are the ones who didn't bury themselves in debt. It's a way of living more Americans should adopt.

3 Comments:

Blogger kristi noser declared,

This story makes me think of the aftermath of Katrina when people were taking the relief checks and buying expensive clothing items and purses.

5/01/2008 5:04 AM  
Blogger Pat Stream declared,

Good post but that story drives me nuts. It takes on a million different angles and yet it wants the reader to believe one thing - times are SO tough that people are even dumping heirlooms...at deep discounts. They may be prized possessions, but heirlooms? And another thing, why would you sell anything for six bucks!

5/01/2008 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Ellona Bateman-Lee declared,

Hi, I am that person in the article,and you're right you don't know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey puts it. To sum it up in a nut shell. My husband John, not bob, as the story reads, was electricuted by 7200 volts in Oct. of 2006 while on the job. He now has white matter disease, intentional tremors,permanent nerve damage in his right arm and shoulder,hypertension,cervical disk disease, and now the neurologist is suspecting a brain tumor also. All resulting from the electical shock as ruled by the worker's comp. doctors.The insurance refuses to pay him now and hasn't since Sept. of 2007. They also stopped paying his medical when both of their doctors put in writing that John was permanently disabled. John has been a truck driver and a heavy equipment operator for over 20 years. He worked for many years of his life and now he can do nothing. He can't even drive a car. He feels useless and to top it off in January of this year he had a heart attack and had to have surgery. We also have a 12 year old son who is adopted and he has epilepsy, and has recently been diagnosed with an abnormal heart, and a nodule on his lung. The doctors refuse to treat him further because we have no money for treatment due to the insurance not paying us what they owe. We have resorted to buying things on ebay and selling them at the flea market(which electronics sell well) and buying things at the flea market and selling them on ebay. But now we have nothing to uy with or sell. As well we have had to sell almost everything we own out of our home to survive. Including the last thing to go was my car last week so I could afford to pay for medicines for John and Alex. As you can very well see, I cannot work outside the home because they cannot be left alone. My son is homeschooled so we are in this house together 24 hrs a day. That is very trying,but I love them with all of my heart, so what am I to do?Also, we did not live above our means, we live in a double wide trailer,and the car that I drove until last week was a 1995 Oldsmobile with 135,000 miles on it. We don't and never did have credit cards.Our furniture,what's left of it, came from second hand stores and yard sales. I didn't want to sell my heirlooms. They meant everything to me,but you do what you have to do. After all, they're just possessions, my family is made up of living breathing beings. There was and is clearly no choice. I have had to sell jewelry and other things that were left to me also for next to nothing. But I did it. I'm not patting myself on the back, nor am I asking for sympathy. I was just hoping and praying that this article would generate enough publicity to put some pressure on the insurance company to do what is right before it is to late for my family. But the newspapaers didn't print the whole story and as usual, Nothing has came out of this either. But I'm not giving up. I'm writing to every newspaper and talking to every news media that published this to tell them the rest of this and to plead with them to help us and others like us that are going through similar problems, to help us fight fire with fire. Insurance companies especially worker's comp. think they're above the law . They don't have a heart, all they want to do is get you so far down that you have to accept the few pennies they offer you as settlement. Then it's all over. Then a little further down the line the injured person,who is already going through enough,ends up on welfare or disability if you can wait for 5 or 6 years while they decide if you can receive it.And they end up either not receiving any medical care because they can't afford it or they have to go to a county hospital. Either way the one that comes out like a fat rat is the insurance company. There is clearly no other winner here. As if my husband could ever be what's considered a winner in this situation. No matter what his settlement turns out ot be. Now tell me, if yu were in our situation,what would you do? Now you know the rest of the story. What do you think? Thank You, Ellona Bateman-lee If anyone out there that reads this knows of anything else that we can do, please contact me. I have exhausted every avenue I can think of. My contact information is Ellona Bateman-Lee, 1122 county road 109, Daleville, Alabama 36322 Phone#334-709-4379 and my email address is lonib.lee17@yahoo.com Thanks and sorry this was longer thatn I should have written.

5/03/2008 3:21 AM  

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