One Man’s Treasure is Another Man’s Sugar Container

Have you ever purchased old ear plugs off the internet? Has the thought ever occurred to you? Well you’ve apparently never been a thrifty St. Kitts student.

There are a variety of Facebook pages dedicated to the selling and trading of items between the many students on St. Kitts and, sometimes, the local residents. People generally use these sites to sell cars, furniture, appliances, clothing and nonperishable food items that they no longer need and can’t take back to the States with them. (And then there are the crazy people who try to sell opened, reusable earplugs and piles of dirty shoelaces. But I digress. . .)

I must confess that I subscribe to all these sites and examine them daily for anything that might be of use to us. I have purchased things like dry erase boards and markers, school supplies and a dog crate from these websites, meeting up with their owners on campus or in hospital parking lots to make the exchange.

However, there are dozens of items for sale here that wouldn’t be considered acceptable merchandise in the States, yet we buy them like hotcakes and brag about the bargain to our friends. So here is my Top Ten Thursday list of things that would probably not be acceptable to sell at home, but are like gold on the island. (*NOTE: All prices are in Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC). $1 US = $2.6 EC*)

1. Half-used toiletry products. This can range anywhere from toothpaste to mouthwash to shampoo or liquid makeup remover. Stock up people! Buying those half-empty bottles for $5 EC each is cheaper than getting a new bottle for $32.

2. Almost empty spools of thread. You never know when a button will come off your favorite (and maybe only) pair of pants. Who wants to pay $30 EC for a sewing package when you just need three inches of a certain color? Find those three inches (and only those three inches) online for cheap!

3. Cell phone back covers. Students are all issued the same cheap, pay-as-you-go cell phones down here and the covers pop off at the slightest pressure. Yours fall out of your pocket at the restaurant? No problem! Lose it on the beach when your dog brushed against your leg? Don’t worry! Replacement covers are available for a reasonable charge. Choose from the scuffed black or dirty white varieties.

4. Incomplete sets of dishes. If variety is the spice of life, then having a cabinet full of a dozen DIFFERENT plate styles probably makes life pretty interesting.

5. Piles of paperclips, Band-Aids or binder clips. Because why just give them away when you could get $1 out of them?

6.  Almost-empty bottles of long-lasting things like syrup. Because again, why pay for a whole bottle if you only want pancakes a few times?

7. A bunch of plastic baggies with a hair tie around them. An undetermined amount in an undetermined size, but hey, Ziploc bags are Ziploc bags, aren’t they?

8. Sort-of chewed up dog toys. Because everyone here has a pet, and every pet needs some toys. It’s like doggie Goodwill.

9. Assorted laundry detergent pods, various scents, color-fastness levels and brands. A roulette wheel of laundry! Convenient for the eclectic laundry-doer.

10. And, finally, weird collapsible containers that no one can figure out what to do with. Is it a beach bag? Does it hold bathroom supplies? Can you use it in the kitchen? Who knows! But it’s $2 so you buy it anyway for the sheer curiosity of it!

I have to shamefully admit that I bought that last item and it is still sitting in our room, unused, because I can’t wrap by brain around what it’s supposed to be for.

READER’S CONTEST! Submit ideas on what the item pictured below could be used for and explain your reasoning. I will choose an answer (either the most logical or the funniest or just the one I like best) and showcase your creativity for the world!

Round shape, mesh sides, opening on the top with a handle

Round shape, mesh sides, opening on the top with a handle

Metal coils in the mesh fabric allow it to "spring" up and down. (This picture was very difficult to take, by the way.)

Metal coils in the mesh fabric allow it to “spring” up and down. (This picture was very difficult to take, by the way.)

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13 thoughts on “One Man’s Treasure is Another Man’s Sugar Container

  1. If it can hold substantial amounts of weight, I would use it for shopping (fruits and veggies). If not, then for when you guys go down to the beach and things get excessively sandy!

    • That might be an idea… I think it can hold some weight, but it might not hold all our towels and stuff. It would be a good way to knock out the sand though… Like a sifter.

    • Yarn! Now that’s an idea. I think i have too much to fit in there now though. Pet toys i will think about once we get Meera. (20 days until we move out of the dorm! So excited!)

  2. obviously, it’s a collapsible bug screen. carry it in your pocket until bugs get bad, then slide it over your head…tada no bugs.
    maybe a collapsible trash bag for your car?

  3. I have a purple one of these! But I’ll keep what it is used for a surprise. I want to see what other people say. 🙂

      • Okay, okay– I’ll tell you..

        It’s a shower caddy! There should be a tiny hole in the bottom to let water drain out, and the mesh sides let everything (theoretically) dry without mildewing (not sure if that works in the Carribbean though…). And it collapses for packing/storage.

        But I personally think it would be way more fun to use it for sand castle building materials when you go to the beach. 🙂

  4. Well whaddaya know! There IS a little hole in the bottom for draining! Huh. Never would have thought to put it in the shower.
    My favorite creative answer is to use it as an over-your-head portable bug screen, since that one made me laugh pretty hard. So congratulations to Taz – your smart alec-ness wins again. 🙂 Another idea I had is to use it as a crab cage.

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