Sunday, July 24, 2011

What a Waste

This is going to sound like I'm whining... maybe I am but I'm really torn.

On one hand, I've been really impressed with the crew that the insurance company sent out.  Heck - I was even impressed that the insurance company did the hiring... I thought I had to find/hire them.  They arrived the next day, after the insurance adjuster was out, and they worked really hard.   It sounds like they'll be here every day for the next week or so.  It's a big job, and I'm happy that I don't have to do it. That's not what's bothering me.

What bugs me is the waste.  They're throwing everything out, even things I had thought to save.  A metal filing cabinet, which I'd cleaned and dried (they say it will rust).  Two steamer trunks, luggage, purses and bags that I think can be cleaned.  They're making zero effort to clean things, and are saying that they'll be stained or mildewed.  I went down a few times to see them at work.  I explained that I'm granola that way, and that so much waste bothers me.  I even offered to try to clean some things to see if they can be salvaged.  They very politely told me to leave things alone.  3/4 of what I set aside to be salvaged has been thrown in the garbage pile, or already taken to the dump.

Not to worry, though.  My insurance policy covers the replacement value of everything that's been damaged.

I'm also bothered to see such financial waste.  While I do like nice stuff, I'm all about the deals.  I shop sales and try to get as much for my money as I can.  Chances of replacing things that I bought on the cheap earlier for the same price is slim to none.  The Liz Claiborne luggage set that I got from Winners will cost me at least double what they cost the first time around, because chances are that Winners won't have Liz Claiborne luggage again.  (I'm not stuck to a name brands per se, but for things like luggage that you really don't want coming off the airplane in 3 pieces, I tend to go with brands that I trust.)

Then there's the things that I've had for 20+ years... Steamer trunks, which cost me about $40 each in university now cost about $300 each.  The Ikea furniture that put me through college is now triple the cost.  I don't feel comfortable spending all that money, even if it isn't my own.  It feels like I'm taking advantage.

The insurance lady kept saying that I need to get need and want out of my head.  When I said that I don't need most of these things, she reminded me that if I owned them, I must have wanted them; and insurance isn't about need or want.  She keeps reminding me that I've paid into insurance for years, so I should take advantage of the assistance that they'll give me.  That's what it feels like - taking advantage.

On the flip side, I'm afraid not to replace these things.  I could ask insurance to pay a settlement for what they deem items to be worth.  They've said very clearly that the settlement for items will be significantly less than what I would have to pay to replace them.  So, I don't know what to do.  Much of the "stuff" that was damaged was in the basement because I wasn't using it.   I used to be all about the "stuff".  I surrounded myself with things, and bought indiscriminately so I had a lot more than I needed.

But, the more environmentally aware that I've become, the more I've realized that excessive consumerism is a waste.  It hasn't been easy, but I've tried really hard to only buy what I need, or at least what I'll use.  So, do I let it go and hope I don't need (or want) it down the road... knowing that if I do, it'll come out of my pocket?   Or, should I do like everybody else seems to think I should do, and go to town shopping for thousands of dollars in stuff that I'm not even sure I'll use?


  1. I had a huge flood in my basement in D.C. during a hurricane. 4 feet of water. The President declared it a disaster zone and insurance covered everything. Same thing - cleaning crew comes and "cleans" everything out.

    I have never, ever thought of or replaced one single thing they threw out. EXCEPT for the cardboard box of Christmas ornaments I had collected for 20 years. I miss those every Christmas. But, ah, a new collection is in development!

  2. I'm not big on having a ton of stuff..but this is why you have insurance. To cover the stuff you DO want.
    I say make use of the money you've paid.