Finally finished this thread so now I can post!
My family is riddled with hoarders, and in their case I don't think it's so much about the money as much about never throwing anything out, but the behaviour seems to fit in with a few of these stories. Most of these things happened during my childhood and teen years when I was still living with my parents.
- I wanted jam on toast one day, and discovered the jam in the jar had become absolutely blanketed with a layer of bright blue mold. My mother told me to just pull the mold off and eat the jam. I decided I wasn't hungry (and yes, the jam had to go back in the cupboard)
- We were eating pizza one night and my brother put his plate down to go to the loo. While he was gone, one of the cats jumped up and started licking his slice. We shooed it away, and my mother suggested we simply not mention it to him so he would eat the slice anyway. We told him.
- My sister volunteered for a neighbourhood trash cleanup. She mentioned they had found discarded used syringes during the event. My father requested that next time, she remove any needles from the syringes and bring them home to him. I very stridently protested that she should NOT do that.
- My father decided to dry out tea bags so that they could be reused. He left them on a tray outside and forgot about them. They were rained on repeatedly and went mouldy. They were there for months.
- Neither of my parents could resist raiding any skip (or dumpster) they came across. As other posters mentioned this is genuinely thrifty. However, they would take literally anything good, whether it had use to them or not. I remember my humiliation as a teenage girl being forced to run back and forth carrying piles of old crockery out of one skip despite my protests that we didn't need it. As I predicted, it was dumped in out garage, and has still not been touched 10 years later.
- This one might make me sound a bit bratty. All our clothes were freebies or from op shops. That's genuinely thrifty and I still get almost all my clothes 2nd hand. The problem was that our clothes were hideously ugly, ill-fitting, either damaged and repeatedly patched or damaged and not repaired at all, and often not even clean. I generally looked like a homeless clown, and by the time I got old enough to realise I stood out, I just felt awful. I don't think I would have survived high school had it not required a uniform (which was also ill-fitting, damaged and often dirty, but at least I looked kind of the same!)
The bait n switch:
Many of my family members can't bear to throw anything away, so now that I have my own place they employ certain methods to get me to take things they don't want (so I can keep them in my house!)
- My aunt texted me asking if I liked a certain kind of food. I turned to someone who was with me and said "watch this, she's going to try to give me expired food". I texted back truthfully that I did like it. She replied that she had recently bought some and found out she didn't like I, would I have it? Ashamed to have made that assumption, I told my friend I'd been wrong, and my aunt that I would take the item. Her response? "I'll bring it over! Also, have some expired [similar item]!"
- Shortly after my grandma passed, my same aunt texted me to ask if I wanted one of her rose bushes. My grandma was well known for her roses, so I thought that would be a wonderful thing to remember her by, and very generous of my aunt. It was only after she dropped it off on my doorstep that I discovered the plant was very very dead.
- Same aunt sold me a freezer (yeah I paid without seeing it, silly me) on behalf of my great uncle. When it arrived, it was full of maggots, and also didn't work. I still haven't figured out how to get rid of it.
- When I bought my own house a couple of years ago, little did I know I was embarking on what I feel were the most stressful three months of my life. My family were overjoyed because that meant I would be upgrading from tiny one room flats to a WHOLE HOUSE, and could therefore be 'gifted' all the unwanted junk from my parents' (6 bedroom, 3 living space, 2 garage, packed to the seams) house, my aunt's house, and my grandma's house (she was selling and moving into care). Never mind my house is SMALL, I should take wholly inappropriate items of furniture like 12 person dining tables and enormous wall units. They were literally measuring spaces in the new house to PROVE that furniture i didn't need or want WOULD fit, regardless of my protests. My mother took to dumping piles of junk on my tiny flat's doorstep when I wasn't home. I was trying to pack for the move, and every time I got somewhere, more stuff showed up. I couldn't walk around without tripping over old ugly light shades or expired foodstuffs. I had no car so by myself I had no way of getting it to the dump or op shop. I would sit down in the chaos and just cry because this was not what I wanted for myself. I had visions of arriving for the first night in my wonderful new house and not being able to open the door for junk.
In my mother's defence, when I confronted her about leaving stuff when I wasn't there, she did apologise, stop doing it, and take some of it back away. I think she genuinely didn't realise how she was affecting me until I told her.
Love my family, and they are awesome in other ways, but will probably always battle with them over the issues of "stuff" and "waste".