Illustrations by Roger Motzkus
Annie liked going to garage sales with her mom. One Saturday they found some jeans for Annie and some clothes for her brothers. Annie wore the jeans to school the next Monday.
In the cafeteria Jenny pointed at Annie. “I saw you at our neighbors’ garage sale. You bought those jeans there.”
Annie nodded. “Aren’t they great?”
“You wear other people’s old clothes,” Jenny said, laughing with her friends. “Garage-Sale Annie!” she mocked. The other girls started to chant the name too.
Annie quickly picked up her lunch tray and took it to the counter where the trays were stacked. In class she kept her head down and did her work. After school she hurried home.
She found Mom looking at a picture book with Annie’s baby brother, Hyrum. “Can we go shopping at the mall on Saturday?” Annie asked.
Mom looked up. “Why do you want to go to the mall?”
“I’m tired of going to garage sales,” Annie said.
“I thought you liked going to garage sales with me,” Mom said.
“I did, but one of the girls at school saw us at the garage sale on Saturday, and she told everyone I was wearing other people’s clothes. They started calling me Garage-Sale Annie.”
Mom put Hyrum on the floor and set a plastic truck in front of him. “I’m sorry, Annie,” Mom said. “That must have hurt.”
Annie nodded and wiped a tear from her cheek.
“Let me ask you something,” Mom said. “Is there anything wrong with buying clothes at garage sales?”
Annie shook her head.
“Did you like the jeans?”
“Yes, but why can’t I have clothes from stores in the mall like my friends do?” Annie asked.
“Your dad and I decided there are more important things to spend money on than brand-new clothes,” her mother said.
“What things?” Annie asked.
“Things like paying tithing, saving for missions and college, and letting me stay at home with you and your brothers,” Mom answered.
Annie looked at Hyrum on the floor playing with the truck and smiled when he gurgled at her. Maybe Mom was right. Their money could be used for more important things. Maybe shopping at garage sales really was a blessing for their whole family.
“I guess I didn’t think of those things,” she whispered.
Mom hugged Annie tight. “I know it’s hard,” she said, “but sometimes we give up certain things so we can do other more important things.”
Annie thought about it some more throughout the day. “I’m glad we pay tithing and save money for other things,” she told Mom as she went to bed. “And I’m proud of my new jeans.”
Soon Annie wore the jeans again, this time with a bright blue shirt. When the other girls called her Garage-Sale Annie, she only smiled.
“Those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us.”2
President Thomas S. Monson
“The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 88.