A few days ago, one of my coworkers was not really complaining about it but just telling me of her financial woes. She mentioned that she was down to her last few bucks—enough for gas until payday.
But in the following minutes, she casually mentioned how she had used Doordash the night before to order food.
Now I remember the last time I was living paycheck to paycheck. However, my desperate times were self-imposed. It was mid-2015, and my wife and I had scrimped and saved for the previous six months to pay off our mortgage. I had worked side jobs, and she took a part-time job for a few months as well. All expenses were cut, and we were on a steady diet of rice and beans. I had a spreadsheet calculating the day we would finally pay off the mortgage. Every spare cent we had went straight into the principal. It was all I could talk about and drove my coworker crazy.
So I felt like I knew about austerity measures and had a visceral reaction to the idea that Doordash could be entered into the same conversation.
However, I started to think about my current situation. I do a lot of dining out, which is certainly money that could be better invested or saved for traveling. While I have never used Doordash for myself, I could certainly live a little more frugally.
It reminded me of the story about Gandhi, which you might have heard before, but here it is again.
A woman brings her son to Gandhi. She waits in line all day. Once in his presence, she complains about her son eating sweets. She then begs Gandhi to tell her son to stop eating sweets.
Gandhi tells her to come back in a month.
A month later, she brings back her son. Once again, she waits in line to get to the ashram to see Gandhi. When it was her turn to see Gandhi, he looked the kid in the eye and said, “Stop eating sweets.”
The mother exclaims, “ Why couldn’t you have done that a month ago?!”
Gandhi replied, “A month ago, I was still eating sweets.”
I’ve also heard the story with chewing gum instead of sweets, but the moral is the same. It isn’t for me to judge or give advice where it wasn’t asked for, especially when I am guilty of the same act, even if it is at a different scale.
*The author of this post owns shares of Doordash