Non-Consumer Magnetism

by Katy on February 10, 2009 · 7 comments


Star Trek


There’s a certain phenomenon that seems to be starting to occur with regular frequency. People are sending me things in the mail. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this occurrence. Sure I’m trying to declutter my house, but who doesn’t love boxes of gifts that magically appear on the porch?!

It started innocently enough with a book. Julia, a member of The Compact (buy nothing new) mailed me a precious copy of her novel, Tongues of Angels to read. This was a treat because I knew she only had a few copies, and I was being entrusted with her baby. I dutifully read the book, and actually really, really liked it. It had great characters and plot, and I learned a bit about the Catholic church, which was interesting. I received instructions to mail it off to Max, another Compact member, so off it went. Easy come, easy go.

I didn’t really think much of this single incidence of largesse, as I considered it to be pretty much an isolated incident.

Then I received a large box of Star Trek collectible figurines from another Compact pal completely out of the blue. I guess she had read my blog post about How Everything I Needed to Learn in Life, I learned From Star Trek. The package contained all the original Star Trek characters, and was lovingly packaged, as if they weren’t made of well . . . indestructible plastic. I’d like to pretend that these were more exciting for my kids than they were for me, but who am I kidding? I’m a geek, through and through. She wrote about it here.

Huh . . . people seem to be sending me things. This is kind of cool!

Then Stephanie from The Compact mailed me a great big box of brand new rocker-dude T-shirts for my teenage son. (There was even a shirt for our ten-year-old and a particularly awesome hoodie sweatshirt.) The shirts arrived on December 24th, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that they saved Christmas for my son.  (You may recall that Portland experienced a ginormous two week snow storm that pretty much shut down the city, thus making Xmas shopping near to impossible.)

So thank you Stephanie, I hope you enjoyed your homemade ginger snaps.

Lest you think this is Compact specific, an old college acquaintance is mailing my son a poster from the “Transformers” movie. My son is super-crazy-uber-nuts for this movie, and this friend’s husband worked on the movie. But the unusual part of this story is that this woman and I hardly knew each other in college. The only conversation I remember having with her was to ask if her boyfriend was her brother. (Her answer of, “I hope not” stuck in my mind as pretty funny.) We’re both on facebook now, and have sent a number of e-mails, but this is a truly kind gesture for my son, whom she most definitely doesn’t know.

And yeah, the neighbors bring me the food they can’t eat up. And a co-worker’s husband is planting extra zucchini this year just to keep in squash. (My yard simply won’t grow squash, there’s some kind of endemic fungus in the soil. And after 12 years here, I’ve given up on it.)

So what is it about me? Am I appearing particularly needy, or do I just seem like I’d be appreciative of just about anything? I guess I’m just an appreciative gal, and I apparently have a magnetic personality. 

I’m trying to pass this phenomenon along with book contests for my readers, as I know everyone loves something for free. 

Have you found yourself being more generous since coming to a place of conscious frugality? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

So keep ’em coming everyone, there might even be some ginger snaps in your future.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew February 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Ms. Wolk-Stanley,

Okay so, I’m not in The Compact, but I believe that is only because I didn’t know (or understand) I could get squash and Star Trek figures out of it. (Is that Khan on the left?).

You never know what conscious frugality will bring into you life. It seems that increased generosity is just one of the great by-products of it.


Kristen@The Frugal Girl February 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Hmm…I must be doing something wrong. The only thing I’ve gotten so far was a potty training book. Then again, I’m not officially part of The Compact. lol


Pennie February 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm

I have found myself being more generous in all areas except my garden produce!

The growing of one’s own food takes an incredible amount of work–compost, mulch, till, plan, plant, stake, weed, feed, water, pick, clean, put up. I love it all, but find myself getting rather attached to all my little veggies. :p

At first I shared my bounty with everyone I knew (Look!! potatoes I grew myself!) but enough disappointing experiences followed that it became harder to hand over those precious little spuds when I knew DH and I would enjoy them all winter long, not to mention stay out of the grocers’ more.

Cases in point: Though it wasn’t a large first harvest, I shared 1/3 of my Yukon Golds with my MIL, a widow who at the time cooked fairly often from scratch. I later found my babies stashed (and shriveled and sprouted) in a corner of her garage one day that next summer while helping her prepare for a garage sale.

Later, when I was away on travel, my sister was nice enough to drive by my home a couple of times to be sure everything looked secure. As thanks, I shared with her my recent harvest of butternuts, giving her recipes to use them and extolling their tasty virtue, only to discover them uneaten (and in a stinky, mushy state) in a box in HER garage many months later while helping her clean out for a pinata party for my nephew.



Karen February 11, 2009 at 8:29 am

I discovered a few months ago and have been giving all sorts of things away. Cleaning out every closet and room as I worked my way through the house. Queen size bed, dresser, all manner of kitchen implements, briefcases, professional work clothes (no longer needed as I work from home).

What a surprise it was then to find a listing for OFFER: computer desk oak finish 20 years old. Well, I had need of just such a desk and replied and found myself the proud owner of a beautiful solid oak computer desk and hutch with not a scratch on it. And it matched perfectly some Oak Express bookcases I had purchased used 10 years ago.

I’m going to keep giving things away to freecycle – who knows when next I need something the listing that is perfect for me will be there.


Viki S February 11, 2009 at 10:18 am

Yes, Freecycle is very cool. A church around here had remodeled some of it’s offices and we ended up with a bulletin board, white board, some cabinets that my hubby put in the garage, etc. The boards we use for scouts.

I’ve always been the type to give things away. My problem is figuring out whom to give it to. We were/are gardeners also and my dh loves growing tomatoes and jalepenos. This year, he can’t eat either and I’m not sure what we’ll do! No one wanted the jalepenos and a lot of people didn’t want tomatoes (they were even organic!). Go figure.


Dana February 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Although I’m not an official Compact member, we do give a lot of stuff away. Freecycle has seen a lot of it. I also have an unofficial round-robin of sorts with two friends with whom I trade children’s clothes. Another friend and I trade books.

I also do a lot of bartering. I do all kinds of photography and sewing. I trade for haircuts, produce, babysitting, etc. It works out well for all of us!



Magdalena Julie Bragdon Perks February 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

When we moved out of one house and into a tiny travel trailer as preparation for a cross-country adventure, my husband and I had to give away a lot of books. I stacked them on a table on the porch and people came by and took them. Word got out that we were giving away religious books and ladies came by the vanload. I enjoyed passing on materials we had found educational.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: