The Best Reason to Shop at Thrift Stores

Sure, there’s variety and value.  You already knew that.  But an even better reason to shop at thrift stores is this:

The quality is light years ahead of what you think it is.  In fact, many clothes at thrift stores is practically brand new.

Skeptical?  Then you’ve underestimated the depth of the American consumer’s vanity and laziness.  What do I mean?

You think people donate clothes when the clothes are so old, ragged, and nasty that they might as well be trash.  True, actually, but those items never make it onto the store racks.  They get tossed before you ever see them.  And there’s another major reason why people give clothes away.

People give clothes away because they were gifts that they didn’t want, or because they don’t fit, or because they just don’t like something about them now.  These clothes are in perfect condition–people just give them away rather than stand in the return line or lose weight or because they want to make room for more clothes in their bursting closets.

Many people’s poor material management creates the bounty that is the inventory at the nearest Goodwill, or Savers, or Deseret Industries!

[What’s that, you say?  You say we’re in a recession?  Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of the iPad in your hand, and your newest venti caramel macchiato in your other hand.]

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A Caution Against Christmas Materialism and Overspending

Despite the recession, I’ve heard too many stories recently of people going overboard with Christmas shopping.  It brought back to mind the following, which I originally posted here over a year and half ago.  Though it’s written with a Latter-day Saint audience in mind, the principles it promotes apply to everybody.

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What have been some of the major themes of General Conference talks the last few years? We can easily rattle off a list: morality and pornography, social issues, debt, and raising the bar on missionary work, to name a few. But there is one other theme that is rarely mentioned because, frankly, it makes us uncomfortable. 

Money. We’re being warned about our attitude toward it, and that often makes us defensive. We’re warned, but since the Church can’t simply place a limit on our assets, we may not be sure what the ideal position is. But if our leaders have seen fit to bring it up, we ought to think about it and realize we may need to make some changes. This is a sensitive subject, so let’s be clear on the purpose of this essay: not to accuse anyone of anything, but to serve as a guide for self-analysis in an area that we may often ignore exactly because it is so sensitive.

At the October 2004 General Conference, two general authorities gave consecutive talks denouncing materialism among the Latter-day Saints. Presiding Bishop David H. Burton spoke of restraining our worldly success, concluding by saying, “A prayerful, conservative approach is the key to successfully living in an affluent society and building the qualities that come from waiting, sharing, saving, working hard, and making do with what we have.”1 

Then, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “We should end our fixation on wealth…. I feel that some are so concerned about the type of car they drive, the expensive clothes they wear, or the size of their house in comparison to others that they lose sight of the weightier matters.”2 More recently, Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy has written in the March 2005 Ensign of a concern he shared with a stake president for an “increasing number of Church members who focus their attention” on worldly possessions.3 Indeed, the prophetic warnings on this issue also seem to be increasing, just as they may be increasingly ignored.

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