|The Tightwad Gazette. I can't |
recommend it highly enough.
Yet I didn't eschew the Kohl's clearance racks entirely; my nascent secondhand sensibilities hadn't fully taken hold, and it still seemed superior to purchase new when steep discounts beckoned. But I experienced buyer's remorse frequently. I found a cute knit dress, which pilled and shrunk, unpresentable after its first spin in the Maytag. My husband bought a seemingly indestructible metal garden trowel, but the tip broke off. Our must-have cookware gradually lost its nonstick coating, which I assume we ingested. Most new items promised more than they delivered.
But the more I scoured the secondhand market, the more I appreciated the quality difference between new and used. With Goodwill's shelves teeming with vintage merchandise, I learned I could avoid new item failures. The phrase, "It's brand new!" started to irk me.
|I love quality vintage cookware.|
Certainly, some items of yesteryear lacked quality, too, but they're already landfilled. Even if a used selection doesn't serve me long, I find solace in its life with the original owner and its comparatively low price. Unlike new goods with "no user-serviceable parts," it's likely to be repairable. When a new item bites the dust, I'm left with not only a fuller trash can, but the improvident feeling of pure, unadulterated waste--money and resources squandered in equal measure.
|I'm glad some people appreciate quality vintage items,|
or my shop, Laura's Last Ditch, would be out of business.
Buy used, and I see and feel the item, unimpeded by packaging, allowing me to detect how it has held up under normal conditions. I've prevented mounds of waste, and cut the time spent nagging my son to take out the trash. Plus, I adore the amusing unpredictability of thrift stores.
|You know packaging is bad when they |
sell a tool just to open it. Instead of buying
Open It!, I vote to avoid packaging altogether.
|My new ad for Laura's Last Ditch, |
celebrating vintage quality.
Do you shop secondhand, or do typical stores still tempt you? As a new year dawns, consider joining "The Compact," or simply commit to avoiding recreational shopping, choosing used instead.
While I pinch my pennies, I'm pinching myself: rather than cursing my things as they fail, I feel blessed to have quality at a reasonable price.
Those middle school friends who ridiculed my frugal ways had a point: thrift can be ridiculous. Ridiculously good.
Next: When my 83-year-old grandma receives her first computer as a surprise birthday gift, she's not the only one Wowed.