Why I Shop Thrift
The words “second-hand” have been a part of my vocabulary for as long as I can remember. I grew up with hand-me-downs and things my mom bought at the local Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift Shop. When I began earning my own money, it was just natural that I would shop there as well. I still have the very first item I bought with my own money over 25 years ago: an over-sized, man’s sweater.
It was 1979, a couple years after the release of the movie Annie Hall, I was 14 and all my friends were wearing men’s clothes: suit jackets, shirts and ties. I picked up this sweater for a dollar and when I wore it to school the next day I was the envy of them all.
I also made several discoveries. Not only could I be the height of current fashion without spending a fortune, I could also be unique. When my friends asked where I got the sweater, ready to go out and get theirs, it was with smug satisfaction that I said ‘sorry, I got this at MCC, it was the only one there!’
I still love a good deal, but thrift shop shopping means more to me than that. When I shop at a Thrift Shop, I support the ministry of the non-profit organization that runs it. It’s unique way to support that charity – way more fun than writing a cheque.
When I shop at a Thrift Shop, I support the value of volunteerism – since the majority of those who work there are volunteers. It behooves me to give those dedicated men and women something to do. I also know that many of those volunteers have stories of how they or their families have benefited directly from that organization; MCC is a perfect example of that. That they now give their time to support MCC with their unique contribution moves me to shop there. I have since become a volunteer at the MCC Abby East Thrift Shop – something I’ll blog about in the future.
When I shop at a thrift shop, I support the value of recycling. Thrift shops give items a second life rather than sending them to a landfill. I donate unwanted items to thrift shops because I know that others may well want them very much. One man’s garbage truly is another man’s treasure – you just never know what someone else will find valuable.
When I shop at a thrift shop, I am making a statement against a consumer driven, instant-gratification focused society. Thrift shopping is not like regular shopping. Thrift shopping means you go to see what you’ll find, rather than find what you’re looking for. It requires a willingness to wait, not something we as a society are encouraged to do very often.
Thrift shopping is a firmly entrenched practice my life and the values that go with it have been passed on to my son who also works at and loves shopping thrift. We love everything about thrift shopping and it is my hope that this blog will be an opportunity to share what we value about a thrift lifestyle.
Why do you shop thrift?