Come, prune & trim away with me... Let's try to shape our world together!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things and happiness

Have you ever been into one of those segunda mano stores that dot the metro?  I've been to many eversince I got my own place over ten  years ago.  Actually even before that... you see, I was my three sisters' shopping driver for a long long time in college and way after that - meaning, until now.  Such stores like the ones in MCS, Dapitan or Evangelista were frequent destinations when they got the itch for high quality bargains for home stuff.  So there, the bug hit me too! Yup, my antique gaseras and a couple of ceiling lamps were treasures dug up in those stores.

Last Sunday, the final destination in our (my sister's & mine) weekend visit itinerary to my other sister's family in QC was this second hand store in Kamuning.  It was a well-lit, albeit crowded, warm and dusty shop, filled with second hand furnitures, lighting fixtures, decors and knick knacks worth anywhere from a couple of hundreds to over 50K.  Some stuff were practically unused and were still in their original packaging while others can be considered as antiques, most of which were premium european and american brands.  I saw how my two sisters' & my niece' eyes twinkled in delight (ok fine, mine too!) as we took stock of the inventory.  We seemed like kids roaming at Toys 'R Us!  We were happy comparing notes on what caught our fancy.  But any item that anyone among us wanted to buy had to be critiqued by everyone else!  To cap it all, we played a strong tag team vs. the friendly lady owner in haggling for the best prices! Whew, that was fun!

"Happy ako..." my sister said with a big grin on her face, cleaning her hands with baby wipes and hand sanitizer as she watched her antique brass floor lamp being wrapped.  I was too! Yes, I still needed to polish my 'new' enameled copper & glass kitchen ceiling lamp and buff the few scratches away.  But hey, where can I get something like this for 2K with a give-away (a by-product of our haggling skills!) hand-painted ceramic candelabra from Portugal to boot?!  Besides, the cleaning part is integral to the experience.  It makes the item more personal and therefore more valuable.  Well, at least for me! As a close friend often puts it:  Happiness!!!

It's always been said that money can't buy you happiness.  It is sometimes too simplistic and too easy to accept adages like this.  That evening in that store was a testament that yes, money, or things bought with money, can make you happy, genuinely happy.  It's just how you use them and with whom you enjoy and share them that gives you happiness.  However, what I do agree to be true is that money alone cannot make you happy.

On hindsight, these segunda mano stores also demonstrate the real meaning of another saying: one man's trash is another man's treasure.  Apart from its practical connotation, I think it also reminds us not to get attached to things.  We should know when to let go of things that we no longer need, of those that no longer make us happy.  Because when we do, they can ultimately end up making somebody else happy.  They don't have to be lamps or candelabras, they can be clothes and shoes that clutter our closets or books and magazines that gather dust.  Surely, those can make a lot of other people happy.

We ended up spending over an hour browsing and even longer doing QC on the stuff that we got.  By the time that the store closed we left the store, although we were altogether 25K poorer, we were also altogether a full day richer!

Fairly recently, the pleasure in shopping at this place was responsible for the end of a short rift between a mother and her daughter.  Simply, the excitement over the 'find' - a few long-sought crystal twin candelabras - and the traditional haggling that went with it, just got overwhelming that both of them just couln't help but patch things up to really enjoy the moment.  As the daughter puts it, retail therapy at its best! 

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