Paper Trail

Posted: April 6, 2007 in Homelessness, Money

Whenever I go shopping for something, I end up going to thrift stores.

It isn’t that I’m looking for bargains in the traditional sense of the word. I just don’t have much of a choice. Being homeless, I have little money to spend. And, having little or no money, thrift stores have become my mainstay. If the thrift stores don’t have want I’m looking for, I’m out of luck. I’m forced to wait, hoping that whatever I’m looking for eventually shows up on their racks or shelves.  

The one thing about shopping at thrift stores is their "no return, no refund, no exchange" policies. Once it’s paid for, that’s it. It belongs to me defective or not.

You would think that after nearly 17 months I’d know this. And I guess that somewhere in the back of my mind I do. Still, for some reason, I keep saving receipts – all of them. They eventually find their way into my wallet. And there they stay useless.

I’m not sure what I keep them, except that it’s something I did before I became homeless – you know, just in case I needed to return something. And, as the saying goes, old habits die-hard.

Most of the receipts are for a dollar here or a couple of bucks there. Nothing really expensive, after all I’m homeless, so it’s not as though I can afford to shop at WalMart as often as most folks do.

Every so often, I have to do a bit of "spring cleaning" on my wallet. That usually happens when I start having problems folding in small enough to fit into my back pocket or when I grow tired of having to sit leaned over to one side.

Some receipts stay in there so long that when they do finally get thrown away, they’re just blank pieces of register tape.

Yesterday I put another receipt in my wallet. Then, after looking at all of the other receipts already there I decided it was time to "clean house."

As I went to throw them out, I thought to myself how nice it would be if I have more dollar bills than receipts. Perhaps then I would be able to buy a pair of new shoes, or another pair of jeans, or even just another shirt. But then, that would just add one more receipt to my wallet, wouldn’t it?

After sorting through all of them, I had a nice little pile of crumpled up paper balls – all of which I sadly said goodbye to at the trash can.

Yesterday’s receipt?

I kept it just in case the thrift store decides to change its policy on returns and refunds. You never know – it could happen. But, I’m not holding my breath.

I also kept a few of the most recent receipts. I don’t want yesterdays receipt to get lonely hanging out in my wallet all by itself. It isn’t as though there’s a lot of money in there to keep it company.

Welcome to my world.


What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s