I like to get a good deal as well as the next person.Coupons and discounts and bargains are fun. But I think we have to be careful because sometimes a 'deal' for us comes at a price for someone else. I'll use two personal experiences as examples.
A couple of years ago - right at Christmas time - Grace and Aaron were living in an apartment and they had to pay their rent with a money order. Aaron went to Walmart and paid cash for a money order. He was in a hurry to get to the rent office before they closed so he didn't take the time to write the name of the apartment complex on the money order while still in Walmart. And he put the receipt in the envelope with the money order. It was cold and raining, so he rushed out to his car and drove home. He stopped at the office to pay the rent and when he got out of the car he had the envelope in his pants pocket. But somewhere between his car and the office, it fell out. By the time he got into the office - realized he didn't have the envelope and went back out to look for it - the envelope and the money order were gone. He said another guy was getting out of his car at the same time and he figures the guy saw him drop the envelope and picked it up. Then instead of giving it to Aaron - he kept it. And since the receipt was in the envelope - there was no way to cancel it. Of course we were all sick about it. They had to pay a late fee since they didn't get the rent there on time. Aaron's mother loaned him the money to pay the rent and then they paid her back with Grace's Christmas bonus. Grace said for weeks after that when driving through the apartment complex she would look at each door and wonder if the person who stole the money lived there. Even though it was a bad experience, it's in the past. It was just money and we have all moved on. But I wonder sometimes what the guy who took their money did with it. And I wonder how different things would have been if he would have given the money order back to Aaron. If he could have been a part of a Christmas miracle instead of a little Christmas tragedy.
Another story. Emily is leaving Rexburg after the Fall term and she won't be going back until the Spring term. Almost two years ago she bought a 1988 Honda Accord with a lot of miles on it. The car is nothing to look at and it's a stick shift - but overall it has been a good dependable car for her. Since Andy has a newer, somewhat nicer car that she will inherit while he's on his mission, she decided to sell her car. She's been living on about $50 a week since September so the prospect of having a lot of money all at once was wonderful. She has been dreaming of all the things she would do with the money - rent a storage room to store her stuff until Spring, buy a few new clothes including a heavy coat, and buy lots of Christmas presents. She was asking $650 - which was below the blue book value - and hoping for a quick sale. Yesterday a man came to see it. He test drove it and then proceeded to tell her what an awful car it was. Finally he said he would not pay one penny more than $500 for it. She needed the money and so she took the $500. Maybe the car wasn't worth any more than that or maybe the man couldn't afford more than that. If he couldn't afford more, I wish he had said that so she could have gone away from the experience feeling like she helped someone. If the car wasn't worth more, I wish he had just said that - in a nice way. But I'm afraid that he saw an opportunity to take advantage and probably drove away proud of himself for getting such a good deal. Emily still has enough money to accomplish most of the things on her dream list, but it could have been such a different experience for her if the 'buyer' had used a different approach. Emily could have concentrated on the miracle of having $500 instead of feeling like she'd been cheated.
Praying that miracles will overcome human nature in your life this Christmas season!!!!