Most people I know aren’t proponents of second-hand items or thrift shops.
Whenever we plan on buying something that we absolutely need, most people’s first instinct is to log into Amazon and order it. Within 2–3 days, we get whatever we need in mint condition (with a whole lot of packaging).
But I love the concept of thrift stores or second-hand items. It’s such a perfect system. People give away things that they don’t need, and others who do require them purchase it. No new products are made, and everyone is happy.
But whenever I talk about shopping at a thrift store or buying something second-hand, here are few concerns people raise:
#1 Why do you want to buy an old one, if you can get a new item at the same price.
My thoughts: It’s not about the cost. I do not want my needs to push a corporation into consuming more resources and making new products while something is already available.
Plus, plenty of times, thrift store products do turn out to be much cheaper than their newer counterparts. The cost is just an added advantage.
#2 How can you buy clothes that someone else has worn?
My thoughts: Whenever I buy clothes from thrift stores, I wash them properly before use.
Additionally, our clothes are made up of many toxic chemicals. If we have no issues with those toxic chemicals (both in our bodies and our waters), why are we so obsessed with just the “hygiene” part.
#3 It’s so much easier to have things delivered at home, with zero inconveniences.
My thoughts: This part is true. Online shopping is much more convenient than making efforts to find second-hand products around your locality or stores.
But online deliveries are also driving local businesses to bankruptcy, and we have lesser and lesser stores to shop from.
In addition to their heavy packaging, online shopping also causes massive carbon emissions (due to delivery trucks).
Also, isn’t visiting a local store much more fun than just clicking a button? It’s more personal, and we get to put of hearts and minds while buying the product.
But if it still isn’t your thing, you can find second-hand items online and have them delivered to your doorstep. At least it will eliminate the manufacturing waste.
#4 The items are damaged.
My thoughts: Most items can be fixed, repaired, and/or repainted. That is another fun task you can do with your friends and families.
I would love to see some new businesses that provide classes on repurposing old items. Wouldn’t that be amazing? It would definitely encourage community participation/interaction that we are presenting lacking.
#5 The things I need are hardly available
My thoughts: This is a real problem. We may not find some of the things we need. The best bet is to ask your friends and family.
Lately, we have lost the art of cultivating conversations where we ask each other for the things we need. Call up a friend and ask them if they have an extra pair of shorts that might fit you or a printer they no longer use.
9 out of 10 times, I have found things just by asking around.
It may also help us establish more robust relationships.
While there are many advantages of getting second-hand products, I do see a vast drawback, and that’s this:
Fast fashion brands may take advantage of thrift stores.
I visited a thrift store yesterday, and I could find thousands (not exaggerating) of different Fast-fashion clothes just dangling around.
This may be because people feel “less guilty” while donating their fast fashion clothes to thrift stores after just 1–2 months of use. And people feel less guilty when they buy second-hand clothes from thrift stores.
This keeps up the dangerous cycle of over-consumerism.
With the news of deforestation, climate change, and water pollution surrounding us every day, buying second-hand products may be a huge game-changer. We already have enough “stuff” in hand.
And buying second-hand isn’t just for the “less privileged.”
In fact, the financially privileged need to invest much more in second-hand products since they are the primary resource consumers (and polluters) and have a higher responsibility towards the planet.
What are your thoughts on second-hand products? Feel free to share in the comments so that we can all learn more.
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