An acquaintance of us called today, she asked if we were able to come over next Friday for a mattresses sales party. My partner P. spoke to her on the phone and said that he hadn’t planned on buying mattresses and surely not these expensive ones. 2 years ago we went to a similar party, not to buy, but simply to mingle with the people of the new village we lived in. These kind of products are only sold through parties and are of “such good quality” that you need a loan in order to be able to buy one. The prices are really over valued. So P. hit off the invitation.
The lady told P. that she needed a certain amount of people on her party in order to receive €300,-. Her husband has a pension, which is a joke here in Italy. She runs their B & B, but tourism is this year even slower than last year. So the €300,- that was offered by the salesman, she could really use well. These are people that even with little money still give to others that are in more need than themselves. The 8 months in which we had no money except for a bank loan and some gifts from family, they gave us now and then some meat from their own grown animals. P. agreed on attending to the party if money shortage was the motivation.
My first reaction was, ‘no, I will not participate’. As I see it, this is manipulation through money and therefore unacceptable. This acquaintance of us 2 years ago was really negative about the mattresses and was even spiteful towards the salesman. She admitted that she didn’t like the product and was only in the game for the money. It seems that if it wasn’t for the €300,- bonus nobody was willing to lend his house for a party. If it wasn’t for the money the host gets, almost nobody would ever go to such parties. So we’re maintaining these parties by allowing and accepting the manipulation in the name of money. To me that’s the world in reverse.
My second reaction was one of guilt towards this lady that had been good to us when we had financial troubles. This could be the moment to return a favour, but I couldn’t make 1+1= 2. The reason that we were in major financial problems had it’s core problem in our behavior throughout the years of separating ourselves from the system. Once we saw this, we addressed it and we slowly are climbing up from the pit. Everybody has his own issues to face and I’m not helping these people out by allowing and accepting manipulation and abuse in the name of money. They have still a few financial issues that really can be solved. Stop smoking would save money, stop spending money on the kids that is more than their fair share, certainly when the family budget is small. Relatives give big amounts of money to the kids of this couple to spend on useless stuff and candy. They borrow from their own kids in the age of 14 and 11 to be able to get food on the table. These relatives need to understand what they are causing with their generously donating money without really considering the situation and what’s best for all.
Therefore I’ll stick to my first reaction and will not attend the party. I already gave some clothes still in good shape to their youngest daughter. It might not be much, but I see it as practical help to give clothes a second life when still in good shape. The girl loves it, because they are my daughter A. her clothes, the girls best and older friend. I rather keep helping people out in my neighborhood by practical help and not through sustaining a sick money system.