• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Bill Erickson
garden masters:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Bryant RedHawk
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Dan Boone
  • Daron Williams

a thrift store mentality and its irony  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 692
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
90
bike dog forest garden hugelkultur cooking urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am happy. In this small town I can make my choice in thrift / second-hand stores! In the neighbourhood I live in there are two. One of those is an educative project of a (high) school. In the town center there are three shops with (more expensive brands) second-hand clothing and shoes. And in a neighbourhood at the other side there is a real thrift store with volunteers and free coffee ... it's worth riding my bicycle all the way there.
Yesterday I was in the one closest-by. They had a one-day sale: everything 50%! For less than 5 euros I bought some tools, a nice hand-made African shopping bag (I love those bags, use them to put my stuff in, not for shopping) and a few terracotta pots!
About everything we have is bought second-hand: furniture, books, clothes, bric-à-brac
 
Posts: 335
23
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thrift stores are a good thing, period. They don't generate the waste, they simply are a way to reuse what would otherwise go to the landfill. I'm surprised some big company hasn't rammed through legislation to close them down, thereby forcing us to pay new item prices when we are satisfied with used stuff.

My cousin is married to a divorce lawyer (she's a sweetheart and he's actually an ok guy) who had a client who owned a couple of thrift stores. They were the fake 'charity' thriftstores. They are only required to donate a small percentage of profits to be considered a charity. Anyway the guy seeking a divorce gave my cousin's husband a $200,000 bonus for getting the divorce through quickly. Not wanting to get into the politics of bloodsucking parasite lawyers or the tragedy of divorce or any of that, but I was shocked that there was so much money made by that guys thrift store's.

Come the revolution, when we actually start thinking instead of just letting other people do the thinking for us, thrift stores will become rarer and smaller because we won't waste our money on lots of crap we neither need nor want, and we will know people who have a need for what we can no longer use. (Young people just starting out need to build up their tools, etc. while the old are divesting themselves of things they no longer use).

A more static culture will help. I believe fashion and style are mainly just advertising gimmicks set up to get people to throw out what they have and buy new stuff. I suspect a sari or sarong from 1500 would have been acceptable wear in 1800.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1516
Location: Denver, CO
38
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I'm getting into a salvage nursery. Of course, there are ironies in it. For instance, it used to be that broken concrete just went to the landfill. As the landfills filled up, it got more and more expensive to dump, and people were more then willing to dump it for building urbanite walls; I'm currently building handsome ones. However, now there are concrete recycling plants, and developers still have to pay to dump, but less. Same thing with chipped up tree branches; Fort Logan national cemetery now takes lots of green waste, so some tree trimming crews won't bother to dump me any.

On the other hand, gravel and river rock are expensive and damaging to the environment when they are mined. If I can stop a big excavator from grinding it all into the dirt, and salvage and resell it, the environment is helped, nobody is enabled, and I make a little money. Similarly with perfectly good plants; in fact, it may even encourage peopel to keep useful but spreading plants if somebody is around to take the excess. And if I can cut up firewood and maybe even mill lumber in the end from blow-down urban trees, I will help to protect the woodlands.

I've got a thread on my salvage nursery here; let me know what you think! http://www.permies.com/t/55343/recycling-repurposing/starting-salvage-nursery-advice
 
Posts: 14
Location: Tonasket, WA
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last May we moved to very North central WA State. In our little tiny town there are a couple of thrift shops but not what I was used to in the PNW. I have bought used from the time I married at 18, 45 years ago. If I wanted it, it was going to have to be inexpensive. Well, now, a year into our 'homesteading" my jeans and shoes are wearing out, the local thrift stores are high priced (if they have my size) and I really don't want to have to drive 50 miles one way to Wally World (in another small town) to buy something cheaply made. Sigh. Ok, rant over
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 335
23
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

local thrift stores are high priced (if they have my size) and I really don't want to have to drive 50 miles one way to Wally World (in another small town) to buy something cheaply made.



Linda, Garage sales!!! You may look at 20 before you find one where they are selling your size, but that one is usually pay dirt. (I know, it's a no-brainer, but some parts of the country do a lot less garage saling that others, and some areas have great garage sales and some bad. I generally look in the richer areas, their :"not good enough to keep" is the same as my "this has lots of wear left in it, and even looks ok".
 
Posts: 346
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
25
chicken fungi homestead trees wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Len Ovens wrote:Only one comment. My wallet decides... Yes it is good to recycle, but I am not going to pay extra to do so. Make sure you know your prices, the thrift stores are full of good and bad deals. I have found enough items at a lower price new than used to be sure.


I agree, you need to know something about current retail prices. And about quality.

Since a lot of what homesteading entails isn’t entirely about gardens or livestock, cooking, and food preservation alone - nor about clothing alone - I thought I’d say something about tools. Sure, familiarize yourself with prices at Harbor Freight and/or other big-box stores. But, for instance, I once got a good Stihl chainsaw at a flea market for about 30% of its new price, and it ran and had a future of years of use. I’ve gotten good hand planes and bench vises similarly.

I’ve found basic tools like hammers, handsaws, pairs of plier, combination screwdrivers, carpenter's level, combination square, builder's square, and so on - in decent shape and good prices - at pawn shops. I was able to outfit most of a socket-wrench set (sockets, ratchet handles, etc) from pawn shops. I’m referring to name-brand tools, often made by well-known companies before they marketed cheap & shoddy “home handyman” versions.

Pawn-shop drills, circular saws, jig saws, and recipro saws can be in good working order (check for worn bearings, and look for corded varieties, as cordless ones often have batteries that are shot or nearly so). I got a very good Makita metal-cutting chopsaw (blade included) not long ago from a pawn shop for $80.

I was at our local “transfer station” (dump) last year and found a good quality 12-outlet shop-type power strip (with a functioning “reset”-type circuit breaker), an empty, unrusted 20-gallon steel drum, and a lever-type hand-held sprinkler - all no-charge in the “free” bungalow one day.

An awful lot of things useful to homesteaders can be obtained used and in fine condition. But sometimes you need a particular thing sooner rather than later, so shopping for it from used sources may not work out in certain instances.
 
Linda Myers
Posts: 14
Location: Tonasket, WA
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mick Fisch wrote:

.... Garage sales!!!



This is such a lower income area that people really do hang on to anything that is good! There are sales going on and this summer (we were building last summer) I hope to be able to stop at more when I am in town.
 
Posts: 2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Judith Browning wrote:I live out of thrift stores for my clothes (except for some shoes and underwear), for the few small appliances we use,



Yeah me too. I buy shoes & undies there too, hehe ^^

I don't feel guilt. If someone I knew threw a wrapped Clif bar in the trash, I think I'd wait til they left the room then get it out, and save it for a snack. I would not stress about the fact that they put a brand new Clif bar to waste. I'd just take it as it was: a lil gift from the Earth. Haha.
 
gardener
Posts: 1813
Location: Zone 6b
197
books cat fish food preservation greening the desert solar trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just found this thread. I have dumpster dived for decades. Even here in the small town I'm in, it can be good pickings if you know where and when to look. Christmas is almost here and the rolloff dumpster the city provides for the big chunks will have a real bounty next week. I will definitely be visiting it to see what gets tossed because it got replaced.... same for a cruise around town and stick my nose in the dumpsters. In a college town, move out week is also a great time. Large urban dumpster diving often yielded some fantastic stuff. And the last place we lived, the thrift stores were well worth browsing. Here we have the thrift store is the county run sheltered workshop, and it varies what you find. Recently though at half price day I scored an old mixmaster that is very close to the one I have. Both have issues and I'll be seeing if I can make one good one from the two... or I could sell it on eBay for far more than the $5 I paid for it.

Also here, we will take wood chips so in spring when the utility companies have to do tree work, rather than pay a fortune and it's hauled 100 miles (I do not kid) we will take it if they will put it where we tell them. Also we take certain leaves and grass clippings from the yard service people, again if they will dump where we want it. Free mulch and compost makings. So yes, we do sample the waste stream, to our advantage and theirs. I have a quarter acre dedicated to this... and quickly find out and find who did it if someone tries to bury stuff in the compost piles.
 
Posts: 121
Location: zone 6a, NY
9
chicken duck forest garden
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's okay, I don't mind the irony. I buy stuff. I donate stuff when I clean the house. It's a good cycle. I have a chat with the volunteers. Find cool and interesting objects. I even have clothing a friend of a relative bought at a thrift store, technically making it fourthhand, which(I think) is pretty cool to think about. Then again, being called a consumer has never bothered me. I have plenty of things to worry about without getting into conundrums like this.
 
Posts: 35
Location: Ontario, climate zone 3a
5
chicken food preservation forest garden
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My current career is in thrift retail.  Discounted prices for perfectly good items that people sometimes couldn't otherwise afford is only one piece of the system, but as consumers people tend to think it's the most important piece because it's all about them.

Shocking fact; it isn't.

For my store it has a lot more to do with powering local non-profits that couldn't exist otherwise through direct funding (it's a lot easier for a non-profit to cold-call someone and ask if there's anything in their closet they don't want anymore, VS. "Do you have any money sitting around you're just not using?"), helping with short-term community fund-raisers, and giving local organizations items they need at no cost; people who have had fires, womens shelters who need items for when the women and kids move into their own homes, the humane society and other animal rescue organizations need towels and blankets and pet items, prescription eyeglasses for the Lions Club who send them with optometrists to Africa, boots and other winter wear for shelters and reservations, soccer shoes for at-risk youth to participate in sports, leftover Halloween makeup for facepainting at the fire hall's community outreach BBQ, costume items for local schools to do plays, recently skates for a local group helping new immigrants become social in the community... basically, any legitimate (as in, not turning around and selling it) organization with a need, we do our best to fill it, at NO COST), as well as the massive amount of stuff that is kept out of landfill to have its third or fourth life through re-use and recycling beyond our store.  I love to be able to just GIVE people things that they need.

In general I have found that customers who complain about prices have either never been into the stores that the items originally came from - the great condition Ralph Lauren sweater in their hand priced at $7 was $90 new at the upscale department store - or they are complaining because they want a better profit margin when they re-sell it online or in their own shop.  We do occasionally have grumps who complain because they believe we get everything for free (in reality, people donate on behalf of a non-profit, and we then purchase everything sight-unseen from that non-profit so they can get funding, even if it's unsellable and we then have to pay to dispose of it!)  Often the loudest opponents of the thrift store on social media have done the least research into their subject, to the point that it's just libelous.  I love explaining to people how it works and seeing the look on their face when they realize someone in their family has been helped by one of the organizations that we fund through our business.  I'm also really touched when we have donors who say how grateful they are to a non profit when they are already aware of the partnerships we have. 

I have been a thrift shopper most of my life, and prefer to shop used for lots of good reasons.  It has been an eye-opening experience working there and I will not say that the system is 100% perfect (there are both negative and positive effects to the third and fourth life of some items, but the problem existed already), but it's better than the alternative cycle of sweat-shop labour, over-consumption of resources, and disgusting waste that happens without it.
 
Posts: 35
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
2
forest garden tiny house trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Micky Ewing wrote:Tel's quite right.  Furthermore, the market for used goods, free items on Craig's List or Kijiji, dumpster diving and all other forms of diverting the waste stream reduce the cost to the primary consumer of disposing of their so called garbage.  If there's nobody ready and waiting to help you offload your crap, you're going to have to pay someone to haul it away, or you'll have to do it yourself.



...In my experience, the usual way they do this, at least in the Good Ol' U.S.A., is to look for a "no dumping" sign, then bring the garbage to that spot when no one is looking.

One of my ethical quandaries: after a squatter shack has been abandoned, I look for salvageable items left behind in it -- but only after making sure the former occupant will not be coming back. It is always sad for me when someone loses even such a home as that. I hate to see the belongings left to rot (and I have seen sleeping bags so rotten they fell apart when I touched them); but I also hate to think of someone who had nothing losing even what they had to supply me.
 
Posts: 65
Location: SW Ohio
10
chicken duck fish forest garden fungi cooking tiny house trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jason Hernandez wrote:

Micky Ewing wrote:Tel's quite right.  Furthermore, the market for used goods, free items on Craig's List or Kijiji, dumpster diving and all other forms of diverting the waste stream reduce the cost to the primary consumer of disposing of their so called garbage.  If there's nobody ready and waiting to help you offload your crap, you're going to have to pay someone to haul it away, or you'll have to do it yourself.



...In my experience, the usual way they do this, at least in the Good Ol' U.S.A., is to look for a "no dumping" sign, then bring the garbage to that spot when no one is looking.

One of my ethical quandaries: after a squatter shack has been abandoned, I look for salvageable items left behind in it -- but only after making sure the former occupant will not be coming back. It is always sad for me when someone loses even such a home as that. I hate to see the belongings left to rot (and I have seen sleeping bags so rotten they fell apart when I touched them); but I also hate to think of someone who had nothing losing even what they had to supply me.



Just to give you some peace of mind... I was homeless for some time, and in my experience a lot of times people abandon their campsites because they've left the area or found a better spot. Sometimes yes they're in jail or worse, but generally speaking we just leave what we don't need/can't carry when we move to a better situation or a different town.
 
Mo-om! You're embarassing me! Can you just read a tiny ad like a normal person?
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!