Thankful, Grateful and How I Learned Something By Selling a Used Coffee Machine

Today, in America, it is Thanksgiving.

As Americans, we are to take today to give thanks for our blessings. And we usually celebrate these blessings and thankfulness with family and friends followed by retail shopping. The story goes that the Indians and Pilgrims put their differences aside to break bread today.

β€œThe First Thanksgiving at Plymouth,” 1914, by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe.
Credit…Barney Burstein/Corbis/VCG, via Getty Images

I am not here to discuss the authenticity of the history books. Or even to talk about all the things I am grateful for. I try to practice gratitude every day. I realize how precise time and life is. I am well aware of the struggles I do not have to face. I have a loving and supportive family and I do not worry that my husband would ever physically hurt myself or the kids. These things sound so simple but there are so many people who do not have these things. These comforts. I also am not concerned where my next meal will come for. I write this sitting in my living room, under a blanket, sipping coffee with my dog sitting next to me.

While learning about minimalism and living intentionally over the last several years I have learned what is really important. I have been thankful and grateful to see things differently. And I really thought I “got it”. I had this “on lock” until I was trying to get rid of old dinner plates and Keurig machine we had.

Facebook Marketplace is the new Craigslist. I took photos of the bowls and plates, marked them FREE – they’d be gone quickly that way which was my aim. Weeks ago I posted the Keurig on my personal FB for FREE and no one wanted it. So it went on the Marketplace for $10. Who wouldn’t spend $10 on a Keurig, and yes it still worked.

As to be expected, I was bombarded with messages for the plates. There was no rhyme or reason for who I was choosing to respond to or not. I really just wanted these things gone. The one woman I responded to indicated she was interested in the IKEA plates I had posted and started asking questions about Keurig. Honestly, I thought the questions were a little ridiculous. It’s a $10 Keurig, do you want the stupid thing or not?! Eventually we got to the point where she said she wanted the plates and would be able to meet me that evening to get them. WONDERFUL. She said that she wanted a nice set of plates that matched, they currently only had a cheap set of plastic plates that don’t match. When I asked her if she wanted the Keurig too she indicated that she was not sure – money was really tight; she worked part-part time and they had two kids. She also told me she had a hard time meeting met at the chosen time because her and her boyfriend share a car and he had it. He was working and she was not sure he’d be home on time. When she told me she would in fact be able to meet me at the time, I told her she could have the Keurig. I told her I’d also throw in the reusable coffee filters for the Keurig so she could use regular coffee and not worry about buying the more expensive pods.

I loaded up the car and went to meet her. She was there on time, patiently waiting. I was not. I did not account for the 5PM rush-hour traffic. She was waiting with her headlights on.

I opened my trunk to give her the items she requested – the plates. I had another set of older white plates I planned on giving away too (not to anyone in specific) and I asked her if she wanted them or just the IKEA ones. She very timidly said sure, and asked if someone else wanted them. I said probably, but I was standing there with her, if she wanted them she could have them. She said sure and carried the box of dinner plates and bowls to her car. When she came back to get the coffee machine she asked if I was sure. Absolutely! It has just been sitting on my dining room floor for weeks and I’d rather it go to someone who will actually use it. And her response was this:

I went to my friend’s house they had one. I said one day I would get one and then I saw the price and I said no I wouldn’t.

That almost broke my heart. Without skipping a beat weeks prior I purchased a new dual Keurig to replace a Keurig that was working just fine. While I am usually never thrilled to spend a certain amount of money these days, I am usually capable of it. And it would never occur to me that I could not afford a $10 used Keurig. I’ve spent that much just on one visit to Starbucks for myself.

My only response to her was a smile, and I said well now you have one.

She put the coffee machine in her car and then came back with a “God bless you” and gave me a hug.

Most people I deal with on FB Marketplace are always trying to nickel and dime you. Here this young mother of two was just trying to have real plates and bowls that matched. And maybe achieve her dream of owning a Keurig.

Like I said earlier, I am well aware of how fortunate I am. But after this interaction I realized how much I have taken that fortune for granted. So today, as I spend the day with my family at my sister’s laughing and eating delicious food in their home I will thank this random FB interaction for grounding me a little more. This interaction was days ago and my heart is still full from it.

This post really has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, the exchange just happened to happen a few days before Thanksgiving. It could have occurred any week of the year and I am sure the outcome would have been the same.

Whoever this woman is, I hope putting their food on those plates brings her joy. And that she smiles every morning when she makes coffee. I hope these simple things make life just a little bit more joyful. And I hope that one day she is able to buy whatever coffee machine she wants at retail price.

JS.

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