Bringing It Back

I made my husband return something to the store yesterday.

On Sunday he went to Home Depot to buy an 8ft piece of crown molding that we need to finish up the trim in my son’s bedroom and wood filler, to fill all the nail holes in all the trim. Both of these are things that we needed.

He came home with those two things and a little planter kit and a couple of packs of seeds.

“What is this?” I asked, knowing that it is nowhere near the time to start seeds inside to plant in an eventual outdoor garden. Not that we do that either because fragile indoor plants and small children do not mix.

“Oh, isn’t that fun? I thought we could grow these herbs in the window.” he answered.

“Which window?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Any window.” he answered.

“Well, it would have to be a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight and the only two windows I can think of are in the family room and the sunroom. Where the little kids run around and play.” I said.


“Yeah, I don’t think so.” I answered.

“What? Why?”

“First of all because we do not need it. Second of all because I do not need the stress of having to take care of these little plants. They will just die. Or get knocked off the window sill. Or an overzealous preschooler will water them and leave puddles on the hardwood floor.”

Normally, I would not have said anything. I would have let him set up the little planter and plant the seeds. And then in a month or two when it was a dead mess and I had complained about it enough, I would have snatched it off the windowsill in a huff and thrown it away.

Rob sighed deeply and agreed. Yesterday on his way home from work he stopped back at Home Depot and returned the little planter and packets of seeds. And got our $8 back.

26 Responses to “Bringing It Back”

  1. Sister Honey Bunch Says:

    It is just so freaking easy to pick up extra items at the store. Too easy.

  2. hollygee Says:

    Jeez! But you’ve got it right — this isn’t just an exercise in frustration for you alone, it is one to be shared with the whole family! I am hoping that it gets easier. Maybe we will remember when we see something and think, “This would be fun,” to then think out its use scenario before we get to the cash register.

  3. Jenn Says:

    It is SOO hard not to buy what you don’t need.
    I got a $25 coupon for a store I like. It’s good on any purchase of at least $49.
    I’ve spent all morning trying to figure out what I ‘need’ so I can go use it…I’m gonna shred the dang thing!

  4. Amy Says:

    Good for you. Good for him.
    It is hard to be so unyielding I imagine. At least January is almost over!

  5. Lisa- domestic accident Says:

    Okay, this is exactly the type of thing I would do at the grocery store. I try to cook most food by scratch or close, but then something convenient will be on sale and I get it. This morning, I went to Whole Foods to purchase 2 items and walked out with $60+ of food. I had apples, but they had organic ones on sale. I bought can soup and frozen chicken nuggets because one of these days I won’t feel like making lunch and it’s organic so it’s okay. Of course, it’s not. I am so weak. You are so strong!

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    I’m trying to imagine how much less stuff I would have if I ever stopped to think about want vs. need when I shop. It is really hard! Good for both of you!

  7. Heidi Says:

    What a great post. I think this shows how you have to be the judge of what is needed. B/c for some, they could save a lot of spending by growing herbs, but obviously in your house that wasn’t going to happen. Good call!

    Chris says: If it were closer to summer and we could move the herb plants outside I might not have been so opposed. But I know they would never ever last more than a few weeks in our house.

  8. SleepyNita Says:

    It’s great that you got him to return it all. Your idea has inspired me and I have started my own blog doing :almost: the same thing. Slowly but surely I am going to streamline this house and my finances.

  9. Jenny Says:

    Bravo, I give you a standing ovation for sticking to what you have started.

  10. LeeAnn Says:

    I relate! I am trying so hard not to even go to a store because I keep thinking of things which we “need” but of course really don’t. I am going to have to go get eggs, and I don’t want to subject myself!

    Tip I usually follow: Don’t go to Walmart. They are marketers extraordinaire! Kmart is lousy at merchandising so it’s usually safe to go there.

  11. peepnroosmom Says:

    Woo Hoo! Good for you!

  12. Jen Says:

    I’m totally impressed that he returned it! I think what you are doing rocks. I even thought of you as I purchased four pairs of shoes for my girls at Target…on sale for $3 or so. It’s such a fine line between wants and needs sometimes.

  13. josy Says:

    if it were closer to spring you could buy a packet of seeds for $1 or less and plant them in a recyclable container then transplant them to the outdoors when it’s warm enough. that would still be 7$ cheaper than the kit. or get a pile of the terracotta plant pots that are a few cents each and paint them up - i have the prettiest plant pots for 25 cents each where i grow my basil and chives, thanks to those cheap pots and some poster paint.
    just sayin’.

    Chris says: You are sooo right. And I do have pots in my garden shed already. Spring is still a LONG way away where I live and I have a notoriously black thumb..

  14. Ragtop Day Says:

    I brought something back today too! I had purchased an OMop at Target on December 4th, because I had a 10% off my total purchase card and I wanted to maximize my spending in order to maximize the coupon. Sheesh That’s how they get you! It got shoved in the closet (even though my wood floors could use a cleaning), and partly inspired by you, I took it back today! It feels so freeing to not have this extra thing that I really didn’t “need”!

  15. Ms.Carson Says:

    This post reminded of the quote “What you own, owns you”. The story demonstrates to me how this is true of even small things. Whether it is house plants we struggle to keep alive, or knick knacks we have to keep dusted, or clothing we have to keep clean and ironed or books and DVDs we have to keep organized and off the floor…
    All of our “stuff” has a cost beyond the cost of purchasing it …. it costs us in the time and energy we spend managing and organizing and stressing over and caring for it and so often the “stuff” just isn’t worth all of that… though obviously sometimes it is.

  16. Rebecca Says:

    I added you to my blogroll today. I meant to do it last night!

    Good for you and your husband. I’m coordinator for a natural foods co-op, and this ordering time has been a big battle for me. I keep taking things off of my order because we really don’t need it, I just see what everyone else is ordering and want some.

    Proud to say that I am winning….

  17. dana Says:

    Good for you. I return stuff all the time. (the trick though, is not to buy it in the first place!!)

  18. Jennifer Says:

    Last year I stopped going to Target. I used to justify my trips there to purchase my beloved Tide at $17.99. Then I would fill my cart up with $150 worth of stuff. Now, I buy Tide at the grocery store or CVS, usually it’s more than $17.99, like $23.00, but it’s only $5 more, rather than $150 more. I was so focused on saving money and getting a good deal, that I forgot that sometimes “good deals” cost a lot more. Now I operate on a “buy what I need when I need it” basis and it cuts out of a lot of unnecessary purchases.

  19. maria Says:

    Good for you. I think I spend way too much time biting my lip b/c I don’t want to be the nagging wife - Good for you!

    I wanted to say you inspired me yesterday. I was looking at book catalogues from school and church and of course there were the “perfect” ones for my 6 yr old who can’t tie his shoes and the 8 yr old getting ready to make his first communion. I had them circled, turned to the order form and thought WHAT AM I DOING? We have more books than our little house can stand, #3 child will soon be out of a bed if I keep using hers for storage and I tossed them. A small victory and I thank you. Then in the afternoon we went to the library and checked out 10 books - my tax dollars support that library - AND I can return them.


  20. Andrea Says:

    Yes, yes, that was very good of you. To actually understand the situation fully is quite good and it is obvious that you are taking this experiment to heart (and Rob will be learning to do so soon, especially if you send him back to the store a few more times…).

    But may I share my initial though?


    I read somewhere someones (this someone shall remain nameless) comment on “The daring book for Girls”. This someone said something to the tone of: I bet the book is full of great advice, like how to sew your own sanitary napkins…

    So this thought of Chris becoming totally radical went right through my mind. Yes. I just had to share that with you…


  21. Maxine Says:

    The Enforcer emerges. I love it!

  22. Maine Mom Says:

    Good for the both of you for sticking with your plan! And not only did you not need the herb plant, but you also prevented a stress-filled situation. I like it!

  23. Elizabeth Says:

    Good for you! I have two comments. One is that “It’s for the kids!!!” is often a justification for buying something when what you want is just to buy something. My mother-in-law does this all the time. I saw her drop $20 buying 20 things that were on sale for a dollar each because “oh, the kids will like it” — but she didn’t have any grandkids. There was one or two kids who came over her house maybe twice a year.

    Second, Jennifer’s comment made me think that Target and Walmart is like a giant coupon. YOu go there to “save money” but wind up buying something you wouldn’t have. I hope you’ll talk about coupons and how they are evil. I started clipping coupons 4 weeks ago (b/c we have accidentally been getting the paper) and I was going over my receipts and realized that every week I used coupons I spend 20 dollars more than my normal grocery bill. I had saved $5 buying $25 extra dollars worth of things I wouldn’t have bought if I hadn’t had a coupon. Or buying 5 of something I would normally only buy one of just to save $1. No more.

  24. carrie Says:

    Around here, $8 = 2 lattes. Enough said.

  25. Susana Says:

    Way to stand your ground!

    I am a return addict, especially groceries that are not up to par.

  26. nyjlm Says:

    between this and the book post I’m convinced that your husband and my husband were separated at birth. There is so much stuff (crap!) around my house that he bought because it was a good deal, or he liked it, and it ends up just like you describe- either in the trash or adding to the clutter (and pushing me towards a nervous breakdown). He does not understand the concept of not “needing” it. I have packages of seeds that linger around our kitchen for someday when he will plant them.
    Oh, and those old Grateful Dead tapes? My husband has those too, and he’ll as soon part with those as he would his left hand. My favorite though- the high school and college textbooks he won’t give up.
    Anyway, you are my hero for doing this, and getting your husband to go along with it. Sorry to vent for so long!

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