Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maybe I like to shop after all...

A conversation with a coworker about my love of thrift shopping got me thinking.

When I was younger, I thought I didn't like shopping. My mom loves to shop, and used to take us out every weekend when we were kids to try on new clothes, jewelry, whatever. She often didn't buy things, especially if they were out of her price range. The fun was in the experience.

Well, I always hated that. So when I became an adult, I would only go shopping when I needed something in particular. I always had specific features in mind (but I didn't care about brand), and a maximum price I planned to spend. For example, "I need a pair of boots with a low heel that are warm and waterproof and stylish enough to wear to work, and I don't want to spend more than $60 on them." Then I'd go shopping for just that, and when I found it, I'd go home. None of this browsing around my mom used to do.

However, since I started thrift shopping in earnest (which really happened when I moved to Washington, since the thrift shops tend to be better here than the ones I left behind in Massachusetts), I have grown to love browsing, shopping for no other reason that "just because."

When I discussed this with my co-worker, I realized why. I always hated the feeling of seeing things I wanted to buy but couldn't afford. My mom doesn't care--for her, it's fun to see what's out there, whether or not she can actually buy it. But that frustration for me meant that shopping wasn't fun.

Thrift shopping is a very different experience. If I see something I like in a thrift store, I can almost always afford to buy it. I don't always indulge--either because I know the item is something I really wouldn't use, or because I've already spent enough (even second-hand shopping can add up after a while!). But I never feel that frustration of things being priced out of my budget, so browsing around is fun for me.

It's interesting to realize this about myself. I never thought about myself as much of a consumer, but maybe I am--just in a different way, or maybe even moreso than my mom.

What does this mean for being green? I'm not sure. Yes, thrift shopping is a green practice. But is being a big consumer while thrift shopping green or not? Something to ponder.

1 comment:

  1. You just hit the nail on the head of why I hate shopping - it's the frustration of wanting something and knowing that no matter how much I want it, I could never afford it.