I recently had two very different experiences with money. One was very positive and made me feel great and the other was aggravating, frustrating and made me feel angry. It reminded me how much power money can have over us. Money can be a wonderful thing and do a lot of good but it can also ruin people, hurt relationships and cause a great deal of pain. Remember, money in itself is not evil, it’s the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. Money is simply a tool, nothing more. You decide how that tool is used.
The first experience had to do with a plumber I hired to clear a stubborn drain. He was doing freelance work in the evenings to supplement his day job. He was obviously a hard worker. The first night he came over he worked for 2 hours and still couldn’t get it unplugged. We were both in shock. He said he would be back the next night with a bigger and more powerful snake (the tool used to clear a drain).
He was back the next night and we had the drain clear in an hour using the more powerful snake. This thing was like a jack hammer! When he was about to leave he said he would send me an invoice and I could pay by e-transfer. Later that evening I received the bill and I noticed he only charged me for the 2nd night. There was no labour charge for the 2 hours he spent at our place the night before.
I contacted him and asked about the invoice and he said he didn’t feel right charging for the first night since we didn’t get anywhere. I thought that was incredible but I felt like his time was still worth something so I added 2 hours labour to his invoice and sent him the money. As you can imagine he was thrilled. It felt so good to pay him that extra money. Yes, he earned it and deserved it but he wasn’t expecting it. I could have paid the original bill and he would have been satisfied but by paying what I knew was right I was able to totally bless him. I felt so good doing that, especially for such a hard working and honest young man.
In that situation money was used to bring pleasure and happiness. I probably received as much joy as the plumber did in that transaction. It was so much fun to send him the e-transfer with an extra 2 hours labour!
The second situation happened 2 days later. It brought me pain and frustration. It had to do with a generator I was selling.
The generator I sold was in excellent running condition. I had used it regularly at my business and I had made sure it was serviced and running as it should before I ran the ad. I had complete confidence that I was selling something that was in good working condition.
The guy who bought it was obviously strapped for cash. I got the impression he needed the generator to power his house! I started the generator before he bought it and showed him how everything worked. He was satisfied and I even dropped $20 off the selling price to help him out. I was glad to see it going to someone who really needed it.
Unfortunately that deal went bad 2 days later. He called me up and said the generator stopped working and he accused me of rigging it so it would only start that one time in my driveway and that I knew I was selling him something that didn’t work. He insulted me and took jabs at my character and morality.
I told him he was being ridiculous and I was offended by his tone and accusations. I tried to remind myself that he was hurting financially and that this was mostly an act of desperation but he was still going at it completely wrong. In his mind I was a crook and I had blatantly ripped him off. He was also calling me a liar since I had assured him the generator was in good working condition and that I had been using it regularly prior to selling it.
I told him I would give him his money back even though I was getting back a worthless generator that he probably over-worked trying to power his entire house. When he arrived at my house 30 minutes later I didn’t even want to speak to him. I handed him an envelope with money in it and he actually had the gall to count it in my driveway before he left. I had no obligation to give him back his money and I was convinced he wrecked the generator from inexperience or abuse and here he was checking to make sure I counted out the bills correctly?
I immediately ran an ad online and offered the generator for free to anyone who wanted to fix it. I not only wanted it gone, I was hoping someone could benefit from this guy’s ridiculous behaviour. Perhaps there was a menchanical guy out there that could get it running again. Within an hour someone had come over to get it. I wished him well and I sincerely hoped he could get some use out of it.
I know some of you might be thinking I should have told that guy, “buyer beware” or tough luck and you are right. I could have very easily told him to forget about a refund. I mean who offers a refund on something you buy 2nd hand out of a guy’s driveway? I would not have done anything immoral by telling him to take a hike. I didn’t force him to buy the generator and he could have had it checked by a mechanic if he really wanted to. But there was more going on than simply a deal gone bad.
For the sake of my sanity and sense of peace I chose to return the money. The decision was mostly selfish. I did not want this crazy situation to keep playing in my head or to nag at me. I needed it resolved, even if that meant losing the money I had made. At that point it didn’t matter what the buyer’s opinion or thoughts mattered. I honestly didn’t care what he thought about me. My conscious was clear. I had made him “whole” and taken on the responsibility of the problem he created. That was worth the money it cost me.
Although the memory is still fresh in my mind it doesn’t have any power over me. The situation is over. It’s resolved. I am free from it. It has no power over me.
Money is an astounding thing. The emotions that are attached to these little pieces of paper are incredible. People will do almost anything to get more of them, and when you take some of these pieces of paper from someone unjustly (even if it’s only unjust in their eyes) they will want to destroy you. It can tear families apart and people who have been friends for decades can abandon each other over $50. If you don’t believe me just watch Judge Judy a couple times. You will be shocked at how many children sue their parents, grandparents sue their grandchilden and cousins sue their uncles. The amount in question can be less than $50.
Please keep money in its proper mental place. It is not worth fighting over. Don’t let money get it’s grip on your heart. It can happen easier than you might think. Free yourself. Forgive those debts, give some money away, don’t strive so hard to get more. Money is simply a tool, it’s not worth your soul.