Get rid of the junk

Chris and I are minimalists. We only want to have the bare necessities around. Now that does not mean the items in our home are not nice. Everything is very specifically chosen, but as minimalists we only have what we need, cherish, and truly want around. We are the opposite of packrats and hoarders. I just finished reading: “After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter” by Gwendolyn Knapp — which made me think of my own childhood.

Knapp is very descriptive about her mom’s home, but in a nice way. You get the point that her mom is a hoarder. It is funny how you do not really know the world you live in until sometimes you are far away from it. Growing up I do not remember our house having a lot of crap in it. We did not have nice things, but there was not crap every where. The couch we had was gross, had many holes (thanks to the dogs), and was not what you would think of if you were looking at a couch. My mom would cover it with sheets, mostly because she did not want anyone to see what it really looked like.

We were not hoarders, but I think looking back that my dad was a packrat. If you came into our house you would not see it. He kept it in his “office.” He had an office in the upstairs of our house. It was his area, and there were lots of papers. He kept everything. He also had an office/garage of sorts for his flailing business. There his packrat tendencies were with “tools.” My dad was a contractor. He had 100’s of every type of tool, and always found a reason he needed another. His garage was filled with money in the form of tools — money that should have been used to buy food to feed his family. Alas.

I remember when he passed on and we had to go through his possessions. We filled storage units that equaled the size of a two-car garage. This was not for furniture or clothes or belongings. It was for his tools and files. We took inventory of everything and had to go through it all. Sadly, most of it went into a dumpster (the files) and the tools given away or sold. There wasn’t anything that amounted to much. Sharing all of this brings me back to the point of: What do we keep and why do we keep it?

Chris and I have carefully selected the items in our home, we discuss together the merits of keeping or getting rid of things. We think through “why” we are keeping something. Does it have meaning? In a time where people want to feel like they belong, do you think that people use stuff to find meaning in their lives? That maybe surrounding themselves with things (whether trivial or meaningful) helps them feel less lonely and that they have more in their life? I often wonder that about my dad. What did all that stuff mean to him? I would rather hold the memories inside, and get the clutter out of my life.

What do you think?

Bra Fauxpas

No, this isn’t about a wardrobe malfunction. For those of you that know me, I am a fiend about how I am treated as a customer. I care about principles.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 10.24.59 PMSo let me tell you what happened. I ordered a bra online from the online website: Bare Necessities. When I received the bra on Wednesday, they sent me a size larger. I emailed them because their website states that they are available 24/7/365 via phone, and yet all their communication tells you that they close at 6 pm EST. For me that is 3 pm, so my availability to discuss my order is limited. I asked them to resend the correct size, and once I received it I would send back the incorrect size with the return shipping paid by them. I received an email response Thursday morning.

“I am sorry to hear of the trouble with your order. We can reship the U.K xxx which is a U.S xxx-cup, please ensure this is the size you need as Fantasie is a U.K sized bra and may show the conversion size on the tag as well. Our reship process entails a new charge since we will be shipping product out, if this is okay I can have the package delivered tomorrow.”

Here is the thing. I ordered the correct size, they decided to send me a different size. I know my size. I wear this brand, and do not need them to try to translate and send me a different size. Frustrated, I called them Thursday morning at the beginning of my work day. The woman who answered the phone? The same woman who responded to my email. A coincidence or a VERY small company. You decide. Right away she was snippy with me, cut me off, and told me that Fantasie had changed their sizing and that they were doing the right thing. Um, no. See my dad taught me something early on. “The customer is always right.” In this situation, an apology would have gone a long way. She could have said we are sorry for the confusion and mix up, and we will send you the size you ordered. Instead she continued to aggressively fight me that they were right and I had the right bra. She continued to tell me that there was nothing she could do for me, that they could not send me new product without charging me again. Why should I have to be charged for another bra, mail it back and then wait forever for it to be refunded?

When I asked to speak to her supervisor, she said: “I am the manager.” When I said “oh, you own the company?” She said: “I can you put you into my manager’s voicemail.” My response: “Why, so I can have her leave me a message, and not be able to talk to her because you close at 3 pm my time?” No thank you. I promptly told her that I would be returning the bra, no longer making any purchases from them, and would tell everyone I know not to waste their time or money on their website.

The internet is a fabulous contagion that shares reviews of companies that do not take care of their customers. Spread the word about Bare Necessities.