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Reasons to shop thrift stores and garage sales (responses to those who look down their nose)

 
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Some of my grandson's classmates liked his shirt and asked him where he got it.  When he responded "thrift store" they were kind of making fun of him for it.  I've been thinking of responses for him.  Here's what I have so far.  I'm interested in what others have.  I'm sure you can top mine.  Granted, some of these remarks might not cut the mustard in 6th grade, but it was a fun exercise.

Environmental Conciousness:
Dude, save the environment!  Shopping at thrift stores conserves valuable resources!  Repurporse!

Rebellious:
Stick it to the man!  Don't support big business!  Fight the system!  (I must like excalamation points)

Social Justice
Most clothing is made in third world sweat shops.  We really need to stop supporting capitalistic suppression of the third world.  Support fair trade!

Frugal:
What kind of idiot pays $20 for a shirt I can buy for $2?

Pragmatic
Hey, it's not worn out, it's just broken in.
Yeah, we had better uses for our money than $30 bucks for a shirt I'll probably trash in a month anyway.

Pugnacious
Yeah, it's from the thrift store.  Want to make something of it?

Spiritual
My value doesn't depend on fancy clothes.  

Alt fashionista:
More variety at the thrift shops, rather than a single years fashions, you get to look at 20 years.  Great place to go for the retro look.

I like this style better and it's not available at Walmart.
 
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Mick, great question and I like your responses.

For a kid, I think the best answer would be "My Granddad bought it for me. Isn't it neat!"

Kids can be really cruel and they are not interested in saving the world.  

I still like your responses!  And they would be great adult to adult.
 
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"They treat new clothes to give them a worn look, but now you're looking at the real thing."
 
Mick Fisch
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It's a great shirt!  It was probably some guys favorite shirt, and then he grew out of it.  I saved it's life.
 
pollinator
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Shhhh if the other people all start shopping at the thrift store, it'll cause the prices to go up. ;)
Just kidding. I feel like thrift stores are a good stepping stone towards cottage industry/industriousness/frugality and away from big box consumerism. You can always pull the "are you judging me based on my clothes, really??" routine but this only works on some people, probably the people who already shop at the thrift store anyway. You can also angle it as helping out whatever dubious charity is associated with the store. OR and this is the cool one, you can be REALLY good at shopping at thrift stores and everyone will think you paid $$$$$$$ for your super swag clothes, especially if you spiff them up a lil before wearing them out.
I like skirts but I HATE elastic so I went ape with a seamripper on this super awesome skirt, and voila! A drawstring later and not only do I look fabulous, but I'm also comfortable and I feel super industrious for not very much effort. I have a garment that is superior to anything I could afford off-the-rack. I regularly find stuff with the tags still on that were originally $90 or more and I pay maybe 3 bucks.
 
Mick Fisch
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I had a friend, an engineer married to a dr. (with several kids) who confided to me that she only bought Nordstrom's brand because she liked the fit and the clothes, but she only bought them from thriftstores.  She had a regular schedule she followed and said it only took a few minutes per store, because she knew the store, knew where to look and had in mind what she was looking for.
 
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Sarah Koster wrote: OR and this is the cool one, you can be REALLY good at shopping at thrift stores and everyone will think you paid $$$$$$$ for your super swag clothes, especially if you spiff them up a lil before wearing them out.


Mick Fisch wrote: because she knew the store, knew where to look and had in mind what she was looking for.



These are what I do. I have certain things I look for, can blow through the racks really fast when I'm in the mood, and modify them into what I like. I have a unique wardrobe, and I don't pay much cash for it at all. I only buy certain colors, styles, and sizes etc. That means everything else can be ignored unless I'm in a browsing mood.  

And I LOVE the OP here, well thought out! I have used most of those! Never organized it so well :)
 
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If your grandson is in high school or younger he shouldn't tell them, he should instead say his mom/grandma bought it for him (which is likely true).

If kids keep teasing him about it he could always turn it around on them and accuse the males of being fashion queens or fashionistas etc... Also teach him that in situations like this he should NEVER explain or apologize as it makes him seem weak and they will just keep teasing him about it. He should come off as cocky and simply say "Yeah, so what?"
 
pollinator
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My thinking starts from the premise that homesteaders generally need to keep costs within budgetary control or consciousness.  As a homesteader, you require more than food, clothing, and a roof over your head.  Immediately, household kitchen implements, and construction & mechanic-ing tools come to mind for me.  There’s all kinds of new stuff available, but it can be kinda costly to get things this way even if your conscience can cope with buying from big-box stores.  There may be valid arguments dissing yard sales, flea markets, and pawn shops, but I  myself have been happy to find useful things at great prices in these.  (Leaving aside, for the present conversation, Craig's List, eBay, etc.)

I recently got a pair of h.d. Wrangler blue jeans at a thrift store that had no visible wear and fit me great.  I paid the asking price: $5.  (I'm an adult and not a kid in school, so justifying what I wear isn't the issue I focus on.)

Then there are the tools you tend to need on a homestead.  Okay, I familiarize myself with current prices at Harbor Freight, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, and/or other big-box stores. But, for instance, I once got a good used Stihl chainsaw at a flea market for about 30% of its new price, and it started easily, ran well, and had a future of many years of before it wore out.  I’ve gotten good hand tools, bench tools, and basic mechanic’s tools at flea markets, yard sales, and theft stores.  I’ve found basic tools like hammers, handsaws, pairs of pliers, combination screwdrivers at thrift stores.  But I’ve found an abundance of these and many more tools (e.g., carpenter's level, combination square, and so on) — in decent shape and good prices — at pawn shops. I’m referring to tools often made by well-known companies before they marketed the cheap & shoddy “home handyman” versions making up most of the inventory at the big-box stores.

I grant that there may be some unfortunate stories behind some of these items offered for sale, and even behind some of the stores that sell them…  but why should well-designed, well-made, useful manufactured things go to landfills or dump-site fires instead?
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Not quite on topic but thrift stores are also great for people that like to sew. We just got a new Good Will in town and there are plenty of well-heeled folks in this county so the quality of the items is also good.

I bought up a few fleece blankets/throws and turned them into warm dog bed covers and even a couple of pairs of comfy winter house pants. Fleece material runs $7-$12 a yard which adds up quick for things like dog bed covers however fleece blankets/throws only run $3-$5 dollars. I noticed many appear to be brand new (often camo patterned) so I suspect people give them to male family members as holiday gifts and they end up being donated unused a year or two later. That is good for me as I love camo patterned stuff for the dogs (it hides dirt!). Good quality king or queen sheets also provide a lot of cotton material for very little $, I picked up a king set of hardly used Egyptian cotton navy blue sheets that had to cost at least $200 a set, at first I wondered why they were donated but then saw that the flat sheet had two nearly microscopic bleach spots on it which is why the previous owner must have donated them.
 
pollinator
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I remember as a tween girl, when anyone asked where I got something I lied and said Belk because that was the nicest store in town.  Now I ONLY shop for shirts and pants at thrift stores.   Middle school is a very tender age when you just want to fit in with the popular kids.   I'm afraid most of the OP suggested responses are antagonistic or smartass.  They don't really teach the kid confidence, and are somewhat insulting to the inquirer.     I like Lucrecia's suggestion to just say "my mom, or grandad, bought it for me" - he's young enough no one would expect more details.    As he gets older I'd suggest the phrase I'm proud of which is,  "A thrift store - I'm saving the world from waste, one shirt at a time - with a big smile".    

Edited to add this video.   This is one of my hot topics - the wastefulness of people with money in the modern world.   It occurs to me that this could be a great teaching moment for the grandson and his classmates as well!   It could be a class social studies project about poverty and fashion as an unconscious religion almost.   If you could enlist his teacher to help him create a challenge to debate whether they should just wear a uniform, or try wearing the same thing every day unless it's smelly,  or for the rest of the year buy nothing new and ask relatives for christmas presents that are recycled only.......

I don't know HTML from BB Code or Vimeo or Javadoc - all those techie options we have here so I"m not sure how to embed the video other than copying a link here :(   Can someone help?   Thanks!

https://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/old-clothes-fashion-waste-crisis-494824.html
 
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My wife and I shopped at GoodWill once for probably the strangest reason EVER!

We wanted to do a Trash the Dress photo shoot, which is where the woman takes her wedding dress for one last round of photos. The idea is to do something fun with it instead of letting it get moth eaten and yellowed, saving it for a daughter who wants to pick out her own wedding dress in 25 years anyway.

BUT...

Katie did not want to destroy the dress she got married to me in. Yes she occasionally wears it, and yes it still fits...so instead we went to Goodwill and bought a wedding dress there. We had just cleared 12 acres of land behind our house, it was early June with 4 inches of rain the day before. Oh yeah, we trashed that dress!


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Travis Johnson
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Oh...and I was not a prude. I got into the mud myself. Nothing like a "sharp dressed man", down in the mud...

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Lucrecia Anderson
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Travis Johnson wrote:My wife and I shopped at GoodWill once for probably the strangest reason EVER!

We wanted to do a Trash the Dress photo shoot, which is where the woman takes her wedding dress for one last round of photos. The idea is to do something fun with it instead of letting it get moth eaten and yellowed, saving it for a daughter who wants to pick out her own wedding dress in 25 years anyway.



This is not directed at you since you chose a good will dress to trash but the whole "trash the dress" fad strikes me as really offensive and incredibly arrogant/insensitive.

There are a lot of women out there that have very little money and can't afford a dream wedding or a $1000 wedding dress, then the women that CAN afford it make a joke out of it and intentionally ruin what someone else would dearly love to have. That strikes me as extremely selfish. I am surprised some of these charity groups/churches that bring supplies to impoverished third world countries don't do more to collect donated wedding dresses.
 
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This is why I love this site.  I read Travis' post and I thought that's fun!  It's great that she still wears her wedding dress and that she shops at thrift stores!  Then I read Lucrecia's post and I thought so true!  I appreciate the various view points and learning more ways of looking at things that are shared so civilly here.

I shop at thrift stores for a lot of things.  I appreciate the discounted prices and that I'm not adding to the environmental impact of brand-new.  I seem to have difficulty finding summer tops that I like but I get sweaters and winter clothes there and almost always buy my jeans there.  I say almost because sometimes I buy them on clearance at Kohl's.  No way am I paying full price.  And it's nice to find things that are more varied than the current season's fashion or colors (which I often don't care for).  I also like that I have less "buyer's remorse" if the thing I thought was perfect turns out to be a dud; I spent much less on it.

I don't tell most people I got it at a thrift store but them mostly as adults we don't ask each other that.  I honestly can't remember the last time I heard someone ask someone else where they bought a piece of clothing (although sometimes people do say they bought it ON SALE at XYZ.)

The primary thing I don't like about thrift stores is the smell of some clothes.  I can't believe how stinky some laundry detergent is and it is SO hard to get that smell out so I can wear it without feeling sick.  I'm still experimenting on finding a solution that works for this.

To the OP: In addition to the other great suggestions, I think it's totally fine to say "I don't remember."  IMO, kids don't have to fight a crusade for something they don't really understand with other kids who hold the opinion(s) that they do because they've been raised that way.  (Heck, it's often not worth fighting a crusade with other adults who theoretically arrived at their opinions based on their own experience/data/research.)
 
Travis Johnson
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Sonja, I feel the same way and am in no way offended by what was said by Lucrecia. It was wonderfully worded so as not to offend!

If I may though, and I will try to be discreet in how I say this, but my wife still fits into her wedding dress, and a few times a year she will put it on. I am a huge proponent of marriage, not in that I think everyone should get married, but rather that if a person IS married, that couple should celebrate the union that marriage is.

While it can be a good thing, mostly the fact that us men are more visually motivated than a woman is rather a bad thing, but it still is a fact. I will admit my wife has a cute little secretary outfit, and on some nights that has its place, but there is nothing more romantic either then when she dons her wedding dress and we remember, and celebrate our special day. Not just one day out of the year on our anniversary, but several days out of the year.

Thrift Stores can do that, because even if a wedding dress is carefully preserved for a daughter, or cannot be fit into, a wife can get a wedding dress at a Thrift Store and celebrate the marriage still by being the bride that she is. Better yet is the man who does so. Dale's posts on dating have really driven that point home, at least for me. My wife cannot really arrange a romantic date; that is my responsibility because it has so much more impact if I do so. In that manner, it ends up being a gift for her.

But aside from wedding dresses, Thift Stores can inject life into a marriage too. My wife does not care if a quality homegood that fits her decore only costs $5 at Goodwill, she only cares that I loved her enough to buy it and bring it home to her as a gift. And that cute secretery's outfit? It was actually bought at Goodwill as well. I think it was $7 in total, so investing in your marriage can include Thift Stores and still not break the bank.




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Thrift Store Clothing
 
Susan Pruitt
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Katie is a doll.   I assume she knows you're exposing her secrets to the world - haha?   Ahhhh, young love...
 
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I wish I had something to add in the way of responses.
School felt like a day prison for me, I feel for any  kid dealing with jerky kids,with no way to escape.
 
Travis Johnson
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[quote=Susan Pruitt]Katie is a doll.   I assume she knows you're exposing her secrets to the world - haha?   Ahhhh, young love...[/quote]

I am not sure about young love: she is 39 and I am 44.

Oh she knows and does not care about "exposing her secrets" though. It is funny because my parents were pretty open about "relations" growing up, but her parents were not. This past winter when Katie miscarried, her parents would not even bring the topic up, it meant Katie and I "had relations"....keeping in mind we are married and have been for years. Her mother later asked Katie how she was ding, but it was very hush-hush.
 
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When my daughter was a teen we shopped thrift stores for designer clothes for her. She scored big a lot of times and looked really good. When kids asked she told them she got her clothes at a small exclusive shop. One time she was with a bunch of kids and they were wanting to ride on some kind of wet ride or something but they had to have on shorts. She borrowed a pocket knife and cut the designer jean legs off. The other kids were horrified and asked if her parents would be upset. She said she would just buy another pair with her own money.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:Oh...and I was not a prude. I got into the mud myself. Nothing like a "sharp dressed man", down in the mud...



This is hilarious!! Love it!! Also love the trash the dress idea, though I did not have a fancy dress. Maybe I need to find one and do this!!
 
Mari Henry
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I grew up with hand-me-down clothes. I would just say "I don't remember where I got it". I have fond memories thrift store shopping and "garage sailing" with my Mom. Some of the stuff was practically brand new.
 
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Looks at silverware, cups and pots and pans from thrift stores...  sadly our  Meals on Wheels is shutting theirs down.   Wry grin my son was looking for furniture.  Called from a thrift store I liked and said get your dad and the truck or van and meet me here...  I had a beautiful solid oak dining table and set of 5 chairs that went with it for under $50  That table was beautiful but folks had passed it by because it was missing a chair!?  H was like WOW thank you.  His dresser is a ReStore find.  A vintage piece from the 30 or 40 in wonderful shape.    He knows where to shop now if he is not in a hurry for just the right piece.   My kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel both have things from the ReStore...  and that lovely inexpensive vintage look black and white tile is perfect for my little 1938 house.  
 
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This is probably more of a response for a girl, but "It's vintage!" has been used by my daughter.

When she started 8th grade in 2008, , she became overly concerned (in my eyes, anyway) about dressing like the "popular girls." We had several disagreements about the "trendy" stores to buy her clothes from, namely mall-based establishments like Aeropostale and Gap. Even if I could afford $80 for a pair of jeans, I refused to pay that price.

So, hubbie and I made a deal with our daughter. We gave her $500 cash to buy whatever clothing she wanted under the following stipulations:

1. Parents had unlimited veto on whatever she brought home. We had to give it approval before she took off the tags. Too tight? Nope, you can't wear it. Too low-cut? Nuh-uh, it's going back for a refund.
2. That $500 would be the ONLY money she received from us for the calendar year for clothing. Oops, did you spend too much on those designer jeans so you can't afford socks? Oh well, child, I guess you'd better learn to darn your holey socks, 'cuz you ain't getting no more money!
3. That $500 had to cover ALL her clothes, including pajamas and underwear.
4. We would buy her sports shoes and athletic team uniforms. (She ran Cross Country, Track, and played Soccer.)
5. If she had any money left over at the end of the year, it was hers to keep. We considered it her reward for having shopped frugally.

She was THRILLED to have that sort of control of her wardrobe. But when she learned that the $500 had to get her through a whole year, she very quickly realized the Goodwill and other thrift stores (also trendy consignment shops) weren't so bad after all! And contrary to her fears, no one teased her about used clothing. It wasn't even an issue for her. But she would say, "It's vintage!" with great pride when she got a compliment on her clothing.
 
Dorothy Pohorelow
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I handled it a bit differently with my persnickety son but like you it came down to you choose a no name pairs of jeans with a nice t shirt or just one or the other of your fancy things... One life saver for me was an outlet shop for his preferred brand opened an hour south.  It had both discount and full price items, boy did he learn quick to look at price tags but we both ended up happy..  We also learned that just because a shop said outlet in its name it didn't mean the prices were lower...    
Then wry grin he got into a special program with a dress code.  You came to school dressed like you were going to an office job.  All that learning to shop wisely meant he had a nice wardrobe for classes.  They taught the kids life skills, how to do a job interview, etc  and you signed a contract when you were allowed into the program.  It was self study but if you fell behind or broke one of the rules you were out.  If you were caught up you could use your hours at school to explore what ever caught your fancy.  In his case graphic design.
 
pollinator
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The local university has their own secondhand store. Everything there is stuff the university is getting rid of, so there are LOTS of shelves, desks, chairs, etc. But, because it's a well-known research university, there's also a lot of laboratory equipment! I've seen everything from test tubes to DNA synthesizers being sold.

Once in a while, they sell a freeze-dryer. Usually the bidding on those gets pretty fierce. It never reaches the levels that the same equipment would go for elsewhere, but it tends to go outside my budget pretty fast. I always put a bid in early on, just on the off chance.

A few weeks ago, that off-chance happened! I got a working lab-quality freeze dryer for $147!!!

I'm still kind of in shock over that. I don't have room enough to use it right now, so I had to park it in a storage unit. But still, $147!!!
 
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Grades 6-9 can be really tough on kids, and how they're prepared to deal with things can depend on their personalities. Making sure your child has a sense of self-worth before they get there can be a help, but in #2 son's case, his dyslexia (denied by the school system) prevented that. Luckily, I was in the position to home-school him for those years, and he reintegrated in Grade 10 on a gradual basis, went on to College and transferred to University.

However, somewhere along the line, he decided to have his own "uniform" - Grey T-shirt with *no* logo worn with either jeans or cargo pants. Slate grey hoody if needed. The coat I sewed him for cold weather. He's not a big kid, but his farm chores make him pretty fit, so if anyone tried to hassle him, he simply showed them the size of his forearms and offered to shake hands over it! Then he'd lecture them about how all those fancy labels were free advertising for big business! It takes all kinds, and this one's a keeper!
 
Don't mess with me you fool! I'm cooking with gas! Here, read this tiny ad:
All of the video from the Eat Your Dirt Summit
https://permies.com/t/106759/video-Eat-Dirt-Summit
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