Last week I loaded up my stroller with the eighty bajillion cans of formula the formula companies gave me at the hospital (or sent in the mail, or handed out at the pediatricians office*) and hauled all of it plus the baby downtown to Madonna Place (I like to imagine all their charity work leads to wearing cone bras and freakishly muscular arms).

I had briefly considered selling all that formula on Craigslist as the street value was close to $100. A quick search indicates that many people do just that, although some of those formula sellers are looking to unload specific brands in exchange for another. $100 buys a lot of nursing pads. I thought about keeping it for when Baby Evan gets a little older and I leave him with a babysitter so I don’t have to worry about having pumped enough that week. The idea of spending more than 2 hours away from the baby makes me giddy with both delight and horror. But I decided I would feel better about myself if I donated it all. Times are tough. Charities aren’t getting the donations they used to and people are struggling to make ends meet. The imagine in my head of a weeping woman coming into Madonna Place hoping for some help because she can’t afford to feed her baby and MY FORMULA swooping in to save the day is worth way more than $100 or a chance to see a movie in a real theater.

At least it WAS, until I proudly handed over my bag and the girl behind the desk passed it to her helper and said “You can put this in the room with all the other formula. IF there’s any space left.”

Clearly the need was not a great as I thought. So much for feeling good about my generosity.

*Formula companies use the same marketing techniques as drug dealers. Your first few hits are free. On the house. No charge man, we’re all friends here.  Because then they’ve got you hooked, especially if you find the one magical brand that doesn’t make the baby gassy or spit up or scream his everlovin’ head off at meal times. I don’t care for them, those companies.

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