If you removed all the clothes from my closet that I bought at the store they originally came from, I’m not sure you’d notice a big difference—or that anything was in fact missing. That’s because I am a thrift-shopping addict. This healthy(ish) obsession started about five years ago when I started working at the Newton Et Cetera Shop during the summer. Needless to say, working at a thrift store made it a lot easier to regularly find clothes that worked for me.
As I transitioned from high school to college, and more and more of my money went to pay for books and classes, my interest in thrift shopping grew. Now when I go to the mall, I have to talk myself into buying things instead of out of it. As singer/songwriter Macklemore (one of my current favorites) puts it in his recent chart-topping hit “Thrift Shop”:
I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
I call that getting tricked by a business
Thrift shopping is one of the most convenient, effective, and meaningful ways of money saving. First, thrift shopping in your home community helps support local businesses. It’s not only handy to shop in your own town for travel reasons, but it’s also a great way to connect with the people you share space with. Secondly, many thrift shops—including Et Cetera Shop—are affiliated with charitable organizations which help people in the community, and all over the world. Every donation and purchase at our store is helping someone somewhere through Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a worldwide relief and peacemaking organization.
And third, you just can’t beat the prices at a thrift store. If you’re on any sort of budget, thrift shopping is the way to get good quality clothes at the most reasonable prices. Of course, thrift stores aren’t just for clothing, but also housewares, furniture, books, electronics, toys, fabric, and much more. You name it, and I’m sure that at one point we’ve had it at Et Cetera Shop.
Thrift shopping is close to my heart, and as important to me spiritually as it is financially. Knowing that my purchases mean something not only to me, but to someone in need, is an amazing comfort in a world overrun with consumerism. This is not to say I’m condemning traditional shopping. I know there are times when you can’t find everything you need second hand. I’m simply saying that for me, and I hope for some of you out there, the realm of thrift shops is a comforting and uplifting space to hang out in.
Hey, it was ninety-nine cents! (Bag it)
Coppin’ it, washin’ it, ’bout to go and get some compliments
Passin’ up on those moccasins someone else’s been walkin’ in
Savin’ my money and I’m really happy that’s a bargain, kids!
Newton Et Cetera Shop sorter and Bethel College senior