Admitting Financial Mistakes and Moving On From Them

Have you ever purchased something you couldn’t return and immediately regretted it? It might be something small like a painting or clothing or something as large as a house or car. For me it is the large wooden table pictured above.

One afternoon on my way home from work I saw a going out of business sign on a fancy furniture store. The road was jammed with cars that day so I pulled off the road and decided to head inside to take a look around and wait out the traffic. It seemed like a better way to spend my time than idling on a four lane highway, plus my husband and I were in need of a new coffee table. The poor excuse we had for a table was so old and shabby it would probably have been better used as kindling than a place to set down your drink. We’d continue to use it because all four legs were still connected and it was junky enough to put our feet up and not feel guilty about it.

I walked around the furniture store for roughly an hour and found a bunch of tables that I really liked. Because the store was going out of business you had to haul away whatever items you purchased, so I called my husband and told him to drive over with the truck.

I waited around for an hour for my husband to show up and by the time he opened the door I’d been in that store for over two hours.

I took my husband on a walking tour and showed him all of the tables we could buy to replace the awful one we had at home. He had one excuse after another for not liking anything I picked out. We started to fight, which is something we never do on a normal basis, but ALWAYS do when we shop for furniture together. (I’m actually not sure why that happens, but each and every time our tempers flare.)

By this time I’d been in the store for nearly three hours. I hadn’t gone home, I hadn’t eaten dinner and I refused to accept that the last three hours were a complete waste of time. I was determined to go home with a table. Needless to say my husband and I argued for another hour about this purchase, but after a whole lot of convincing my husband and I walked out of the store as proud new owners of the table you see pictured above.

Unfortunately we found a problem with it the minute we moved it into the living room. It was too big for the space! I refused to admit the error. I was adamant that it would work. I moved other chairs and ottomans around, but there was no mistaking it. That table just didn’t fit! For weeks my husband and I did our best to walk around it. We maneuvered through the living room like an obstacle course. We weaved our way around chairs and tables each and every time we made our way to the couch.

Eventually I had to admit defeat. I shouldn’t have bought the table. Even on sale it cost us quite a bit of money and since the store was going out of business it couldn’t be returned. We were stuck with it.

We kept it in the living room for a few weeks and then I decided enough was enough. I moved it to the sun room where it took up even more space! The sun room is half the size of our living room, but we don’t spend much time there so it hung out unused and unwanted for years. Not days or weeks or months, but years. I couldn’t stand the sight of it, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of it. We’d paid too much and wouldn’t recoup our cost if we tried to sell it. Something about that fact made it unbelievably difficult to sell or donate.

I convinced myself that we would move it to the basement as soon as it was refinished. Unfortunately refinishing the basement is at the bottom of our priority list.

Flash forward five years. Now that the weather is getting nicer I want my son to play in the sun room. It’s the one area in the house with carpet so it’s much softer to set him down on the ground. Of course the first day I carried him in there I realized that awful table was taking up way too much space.

I’d finally had enough! I thought about selling it, but ultimately decided to just take it outside so the donation truck could haul it away. As I carried it down the front steps I took note of how terribly I felt for spending so much money on something we never used. Then I vowed to remember that table. I took a photograph of it and thought long and hard about the whole ordeal. I want to remember how and why I bought that table so I don’t ever make a similar mistake again.

By the way… Once that table moved out of the living room the shabby, old table we’d owned for years moved back in. Twelve years later it’s still the spot where we rest our feet and put our drinks down.

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