Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Don’t Know What To Do With Those Trophies That Are Collecting Dust In The Closet?

by Roger Loria, Jr.

From time to time, we receive visits from people who cannot house their trophies, medals and/or plaques anymore.  For a variety of reasons, they just can’t keep the physical awards anymore.  However, unlike other reactions to such a predicament (that is, trying to get rid of objects they can’t hold onto anymore), they don’t try to sell them at tag sales - and more remarkably - they will not discard them into the trash either.  I am particularly intrigued by this - which is the fact that no matter how much people cannot keep the physical awards, something keeps them from just throwing these objects out with the rest of the things they can’t keep anymore.
Now be advised that these are not Olympic Medals or World Cups that we receive in order to “re-purpose”.  These are generally common awards earned in youth, or early adulthood, which have remained in somewhat good condition, but have collected too much dust over the years.  Nonetheless, whether these are locally won awards or some well-known icons, these objects have never been - at least in our experience - rendered “disposable”.  Perhaps psychologically, the earner of these awards does not want to negate the significance of their achievement by simply tossing the physical commemoration of it in the trash.  The physical object may not be needed anymore, for whatever reason.  But it would be disheartening to “dispose of the achievement itself” (in effigy) by unceremoniously trashing it.  The word “desecration” comes to mind.
Apparently, the prevailing attitude in this phenomenon (which is unique to the world of retail awards) is:   
           This object, which represents a moment in time in which a certain level of excellence was achieved, should not be buried in a forgettable heap of garbage.  It represents something much more significant than that.  It took time and effort to prepare and perform the task required to earn the achievement and - unlike money - time and effort is non-refundable.  Therefore, the object that was given to the person, who spent that non-refundable amount of time and effort to achieve something special, should be passed on to someone else who may be in the midst of achieving something special as well.
            So when someone comes in the store to basically say, “I’m down-sizing and I have to unload these trophies, medals and plaques.  Can you use them?”, I basically give them two options:  If the items are in good condition, you can leave them here in our store and I can recycle them and sell them at 'bargain basement' prices - or - you can charitably donate them to a local boys & girls club. 

In many communities, the local boys & girls clubs are a safe-haven for youth to have a place to engage in confidence-building competitions that will also teach them other life skills, such as how to deal with both defeat and victory (i.e. sportsmanship, humility, etc.).  These clubs are often under-funded, so these donated awards become a crucial element in helping to maintain the invaluable community services that these clubs provide.   
            So if you’re reading this and wondering what to do with the awards that you earned 'way back when', but can no longer keep, we give you these two aforementioned options.  But we recommend the latter!
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