8 09 2009

disposalI graduated from high school on a Friday evening in 1951 and went to work on the following Monday morning. my salary was $150 per month less 25% taxes because my Father was still claiming me on his taxes. The company I was working for had a sale on disposals for Christmas that year. They offered a great deal to all the employees – $120 per disposal and we could pay it out with the money being taken out of our paycheck each payday. Disposals were brand new on the market and no one we knew had ever had one. I thought that would make a great Christmas present for my Mother. What a wonderful surprise that would be for her! She wouldn’t have to put all those potato peelings in a sack and carry them down to the garbage can in the alley ¬†anymore. Or the carrot shavings, or the smelly onion skins or any of that other messy garbage.

I mentioned it to my Mother and Father and they were both overjoyed to think of having such a wonderful, wonderful gift. They made arrangements for the plumber to come and install the newest of the new contraptions. Of course by this time, mother had told everyone she knew that she was getting a brand new disposal as a Christmas gift. And everyone she knew was telling her it wouldn’t work, would just make a mess of things, would stop up the sewer and all those wonderful comments that envious people always make.

But we got the disposal anyway. Every time anyone came by to visit, Mother would turn on her disposal and show them how wonderful it was. She was really, really proud. And I was proud I had been able to give it to her.

I started thinking about that Christmas gift just this past week. It was truly a wonderful gift and everyone was very proud. But when I thought about it from a practical standpoint, it really wasn’t so wonderful after all. Since my salary was only $150 per month less 25% in taxes, and I had to pay out that $120 over a period of time, I’m sure it cost me dearly. Of course being young and making my first paychecks for myself, I probably didn’t even notice. I was rolling in money anyway. Having anything over $5 made me rich beyond comparison.

I checked out the prices of disposals on the market today. That one I bought in 1951 was 1/2 hp and had no extras. In today’s world, you can buy the same thing for about $80. So the disposal has not lost much of its value over the years. ¬† You can purchase a top of the line 2 hp, whisper quiet disposal full of extras today for about $200. Even that is not out of line.

My $120 was well spent, made for a great Christmas that year. And I didn’t even realize how expensive it really was. Oh well, Merry Christmas!