This is a story of a purchase not made during Vermont's sales-tax holiday this weekend.
There was a couple that decided this winter to spruce up their living room and kitchen, which were feeling the dinginess of an aging paint job. It seemed like a big job, but the couple told themselves that when all this hard work was done, they would reward themselves with a new dining room hutch that would help make the whole place look even spiffier.
As they looked more closely at the work at hand, they decided that before painting they really needed to fix the peeling joint tape on a couple of the walls. And when I say they, I mean one member of the couple decided this while the other offered his sincerest moral support.
Despite the fact that this couple has no experience at such work and no indication of any skill at it, they decided to muddy the joints themselves. And when I say they, I mean one member of the couple decided this while the other offered his sincerest moral support.
A great quantity of weekends passed that involved buying spackling knives and buckets of goop before the new joint tape and artlessly applying them to the wall and ceiling. All the while, the reward of a new hutch dangled.
The couple finally sent about painting the walls and ceilings. Many more weekends went by and the couple grew resentful of the fact that the living room and kitchen were in perpetual disarray. But there was a new hutch to look forward to.
Meanwhile, the federal government promised to send money that would pay for the new hutch they had in mind.
Then the state government promised a tax-free holiday that would make hutch even cheaper. Never mind that when considering the cost of the hutch, the couple never really thought about how much the tax would be.
The couple finally finished painting the walls and restoring some order to the disarray. Though one member of the couple can't help but see every flaw, especially on the muddying job she did, and both members of the couple aren't sure that the colors they used were quite what they intended, the rooms really did look better.
By this time, though, when the couple thought about buying the hutch, they couldn't help but think about how much the economy was tanking all around them. The price of oil, the price of cheese, the disappearing jobs. Somehow buying a hutch didn't seem like such a good idea.
They started thinking about how they'd done just fine without the hutch all these years. They noticed how other people's hutches, which were probably once the source of great pride, were now jammed full of stuff. And even though the federal government and the state government were offering to help, the couple figured they would save even more money by not buying the hutch at all.
Plus, the kitchen looks pretty darn spiffy without the hutch, what with the new paint job.
That's the story of why one couple was not at the store this weekend spending their federal money and taking advantage of the state sales-tax holiday.
- Terri Hallenbeck