Saturday, January 31, 2009

Georgia Family (Almost) Sells All Its Possessions To Fund Child Health Expenses

The Peters family, swamped with medical expenses associated with their two disabled children, first joked that they should sell everything they owned to stay solvent ... and then started taking the notion seriously. Bidding on everything they owned besides their house -- clothing, car, baby stroller, and apparently everything except the current-sized car child seats and their mattresses -- closed at $20,000. And the Georgia family stood ready to deliver.

The purchasers, a Texas family, paid the Peters in full. However, they declined to take delivery.

"They are apparently not willing to take our stuff," Brittiny Peters said. "They're purchasing them to give them back to us."
via Associated Press

The purchasers -- if the term can be used -- seemed sympathetic to the Peters' position:

"They've worked really hard to get those things and we're in a position to help them," Donnia Blair told The Associated Press on Friday. "She can just act like they're my storage facility."
via Associated Press

The Peters are also trying to figure out what to do with money raised by the administrator of the web site, and have reportedly irritated some people with efforts to return donations. Impressed by the generosity of donors, the Peters will be donating a number of items to appropriate charities in honor of those who have been so generous to the Peters.

The Jaded Consumer's view is fairly simple: the Peters' efforts to make good on their obligations without resort to bankruptcy protection and entitlement programs might ultimately prove futile, but it is certainly heroic. The fact that the Peters seem able to contemplate donating items to charities suggests that between existing earnings and recent donations, the family seems in pretty good financial shape, so perhaps their situation is more survivable than one might suspect at first glance. The fact that the Blair family exists, and the host of donors responding to, suggests that some of the more cynical commentators on modern society in the United States have a less than complete view of the whole. Something in the community is obviously whole and functioning and unbroken, and the Peters' good-faith efforts to stay financially afloat while prioritizing their family members over their interest in their material goods show that some people continue to demonstrate even in the twenty-first century a set of apparently sound values.

The upshot: the country isn't dead yet. Too many things seem to be working properly. Hope is alive.

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