There is no limit to the spending as Christmas Day approaches. There are still a lot of people in the list - colleagues, neighbors, and helpers, the kindred who needs to be remembered. The shopping rush gets trickier as the Raketship demands attention.
Tradition stays, time has to bend.
It was one of those pleasant discoveries of last year: The Japan Home Center warehouse outlet. Who needs 168 at the bosom of Divisoria, when you can find gift items at P88 pesos at the fringes of Timog Avenue. As the materialist lust takes over, cultural leanings follow. This year, the deep pockets offer nearly limitless choices. Only the habit of diversifying held me from completing the list.
Now you ask, what to find at this thrift store: home items of great variety, fancy dining implements the Japanese use everyday, stateside beauty products - generic in packaging, yet classy by pedestrian standards, and so on. These and other goodies, one can give away without breaking the wallet. Without guilt, I bought them all at a price a quarter of what I spent at the Toy Kingdom sale last week.
But there is the setback. A trick I learned long after the acquisition was secured.
As the local government ordinance mandates stores to replace plastic with paper bags, I was caught unprepared when the bought items were returned. A spending oversight left me with two gigantic recycled pulp bags without handles. The loot had to be carried in such a manner that would limit my movement. And because I left the store at the middle of the rush hour, no cab driver would dare travel the streets of Manila and return sane after enduring the gridlock.
Had I known, never would I resort to hoarding.
I was able to get home through means that no longer matter in this story. What is essential is the lesson: of the fact why the Japanese are always seen carrying paper bags in anime and not with our Polyethylene pouches.
"Acquire what is only needed." The voice of reason comforts. "Or suffer the consequences of greed, like what your unready arms have to bear now."