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Lessons Learned (the hard way)

I am actually a very frugal person. For example, at my favorite grocery store you bring your own bags and pack your own groceries. Why buy baby carrots when it is cheaper to buy a pound of carrots and cut them up? I often grate my own cheese, for Pete’s sake, instead of buying expensive bags of shredded cheese. It must be my Scottish ancestry that makes me a bit of a penny pincher in most situations.

However, and you could see this coming, I decided to treat myself once to Oolong tea from a specialty tea store. “Specialty” means expensive. Legend has it that this tea is from leaves that grow so high up in the tree that the Chinese had to train monkeys to climb the tree and pick the leaves. I purchased a canister that was partially filled with these leaves and I actually paid $28 for it! Yes, $28 for tea. I know it’s hard to believe, but I enjoyed it immensely and savored every delicious drop. I still felt a little guilty, though, and couldn’t say for sure that the tea was worth $28.

Those leaves lasted me quite a while; but, when they were gone I went back to more reasonably priced herbal blends and didn’t think too much about it…..until the day came that I was in a mall where I saw the exact same specialty tea shop that had carried the lovely Oolong tea. Should I? I wondered. Oh, why not.

So I went in and asked for the monkey-picked Oolong and the associate lifted down the tin container with reverence. On the side, I could see a price that said, “$25.00,” and I thought, “That’s about what I paid before.” She offered me a narrow canister or a larger size, and I said the narrow one would be fine. As she dipped the fragrant leaves into the air tight canister, we chatted about keeping the leaves fresh and how long to steep them.

The cash register was busy, so there was a bit of a delay while I waited to be checked out, and other customers lined up behind me. At last, she proceeded to ring me up and turned to me with a smile, announcing my purchase totaled $105.00.

Well, I just about fainted. Immediately, the realization dawned. The tea cost $25.00 PER OUNCE! My previous purchase must have been for just ONE OUNCE of the monkey-picked leaves, and now I had a full canister of over four ounces.

$105 for TEA! Who am I? Kim Kardashian?

Well, I was too embarrassed to admit my error, especially after waiting in line and with others lined up behind me, so I paid for the leaves of gold with my credit card and smiled in what I hoped was a nonchalant manner. As I thought about my purchase for the rest of that day, I realized I should have said, “Oh, my. I had no idea it would be that expensive. I’ll have to get a smaller amount.” That’s called the school of hard knocks.

Every time I drank a cup of that tea, which was frequently, (it was a full container, after all) I shook my head over my stupidity. The tea was good, but not THAT good. It’s hard to enjoy something when you are experiencing “buyer’s remorse.” But I do recommend monkey-picked Oolong to you! How about you? Have you learned a lesson the hard way?

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