Please don’t suggest shortcuts unless you’re going to help pay for them

People like to offer advice. They want to help. I get that. I want to help others, too. But when the advice involves money I don’t have, and I point that out, arguing the point really doesn’t help.

Example 1: “Why don’t you order groceries to be delivered?”

This is suggested to me a lot. Yes, that would be great. It would save me time and energy and effort and the pain of walking and driving and reaching and carrying. Perfect solution. But it’s expensive. Only the more expensive grocery stores offer this service, and then they charge extra for this service. I just can’t afford it. I point this out to people and too often they try to argue that it would be worth it anyway. They don’t seem to understand that I am living off of disability payments that don’t cover all of my expenses as it is, and that might be cut off any time the insurer feels like it (well, that’s essentially the case.) So yes, grocery delivery would be incredibly helpful, but that doesn’t mean that it’s an option for me. I wish I was. I really do. But it’s just not.

Example 2: “Why don’t you use a laundry service?”

Wow, that sounds nice. Someone else would wash all my clothes and linens. I’d just have to prepare them and put them away. I’d love that! No more lugging everything down the hall, into the elevator, to the basement, and into the machines, then returning later to put everything in the dryer, then returning again even later to lug it all back up to my apartment. I would even have to fold clothes. It sounds heavenly! But I balk at the laundry prices I’m already paying: $2.50 to wash each load and $2.50 to dry each load, which is why I let some clothes dry on racks in my living room now instead of paying for the dryer. If I have trouble paying those prices, how am I supposed to pay even more to have someone else do my laundry? People try to argue that it’s not that much more to pay someone else, and it will save me money on detergent, etc. Um, I don’t pay that much for detergent (just how much do you use?) Besides, if the current cost is too much, a higher amount isn’t magically ok. It just doesn’t work like that.

Example 3: “Why don’t you order in for dinner?”

Oh, don’t get me started. It is so much more expensive to buy a restaurant meal than to cook at home. Yes, it would do wonders for saving energy and reducing pain on the days I need it most, but that doesn’t mean I can afford it! Plus, it’s just not healthy – I can’t be sure what’s in those foods, and my health is the most important thing. I have a list of easy meals to make from ingredients I always have on hand and I grow the list whenever I can. Failing that, when I feel well enough I often cook in large quantities and freeze the extras, so I can always pull something out of the freezer. People try to argue that it’s worth it to order in. Maybe it is to them. Sure, you with a job and a steady income might eat out sometimes. Good for you. But you can’t assume we can all do it. There are financial limitations, and this is one of mine.

There are so many more examples like this. I know people mean well. They really do. And I don’t mind the suggestions. But when I say I can’t afford it, that means I can’t afford it. Trying to suggest it’s “worth it” just doesn’t work. So my new response will be that if they think it’s that important, they should be offering to cover the cost for me. If they won’t do that, then the conversation is over. Kaput. Finished. I live in the real world, and in the real world I’d rather pay for medical care than for grocery delivery. Yes, that is a choice I must make. It’s a personal choice. And I’m certain I’m making the right one for me.

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6 Responses to Please don’t suggest shortcuts unless you’re going to help pay for them

  1. People really don’t get it, although their hearts are probably in the right place. When my husband and I were first married, we were living in subsidized housing, and I told my brother what we would be paying for rent (which was, of course, base on our income). My brother had never suffered any money problems, and he said to me, “Oh, that’s so cheap – you should rent TWO apartments and use one for storage!” He just didn’t understand.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling so. Wish I could offer more than just emotional support.

    • chronicrants says:

      Cordeliasmom, that story is absurd! Even if you had the money, I think renting a second apartment just for storage is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. I’m sorry to hear your brother wasn’t more understanding.

  2. Jess says:

    Hear hear! All those “helpful” suggestions are not helpful at all, really.

  3. I hear yah, people are oblivious sometimes.

  4. Karen J says:

    O-Kay! I’m going to try not to rant about this, but Oh, so many buttons are getting pushed!

    So many people (especially public policy makers, but friends and relatives, too) just *don’t get it* – the genuine *either/or* decisions that limited resources require!
    I just want to slug folks, when the only answer offered is “Ya shoulda made a different decision, back when…” OMf-ingG! Do they have a Time Machine I can use, so I can go change that???

    • chronicrants says:

      You’re so right! Offering suggestions on how to handle a similar suggestion in the future can be useful, but simply saying, “You did that wrong” really doesn’t help anyone!

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