Pause for consideration

It's easy to take for granted, living on Mercer Island, the many services provided by our community. We are blessed to live in a supportive and giving community. From Youth and Family Services to Island Rotary, from our devoted fire fighters and police officers to the many unnamed residents who support MI schools, businesses and neighbors. Yes, we are a community of affluence, and this affluence is not only monetary.

That is why the mountain of used housewares, Christmas decorations and clothing left on the doorstep of the Mercer Island Thrift Shop last week was such a disappointment - not only for the employees and volunteers who work there, but the neighbors and patrons who frequent the area. let-down. The five-foot high pile of "junk" dropped off over the New Years holiday shows, quite literally, how one person's laziness can grow into a mountain of responsibility for another.

Despite signs on that clearly read "No Drop-offs," a number of Island residents, eager to clean out their closets for '08, could not be bothered to come back with their goods once the store re-opened. After all, what's so bad about leaving it? It's only a couple of bags, right? Not exactly. Add in our unforgiving January rain, stormy winds and those less-than-honest members of society (who take liberties with the "finders keepers" mantra at others' expense) and you're left with rain-damaged and missing merchandise. What could have been somebody's "Thrift Shop treasure" ends up being hoisted, soggy and unsalvageable, into the disposal bin or whisked off by a quiet delinquent.

Most likely, our anonymous Thrift Shop droppers did not think this far ahead. Most likely, if they had realized their bags would become soggy weight for another to throw out they would have put up with a stuffed van for another day or two, and waited until Thrift Shop donation hours. These anonymous droppers are no doubt good people. People who left their boxes in fleeting laziness, purely for the sake of convenience. Yet this is where good intentions and faulty actions equate to character.

In its 32 years, the Mercer Island Thrift Shop has been a gracious service to our community. The store, with its dedicated team of employees and volunteers, has become a priceless gem (albeit a second-hand one) on the Island. The money it raises is funneled back to the community through Mercer Island Youth and Family Services. So let's take that extra effort to be considerate. Let's resist laziness out of respect for an organization that has helped us become the community we are - not a community of wealth, but a community of affluence.

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