The state of the secondhand market
Happy Pride Month, folks! As we encourage people to be who they want to be, that often involves clothing. And what better way to expand your wardrobe by...emptying your entire wallet at the local thrift store. For the low-low price of $38, you too can have a threadbare pair of Lee jeans! *Record scratch*
Hang on a sec, what happened to the thrift store experience? Is it the 2021-2023 recession that is being felt by everyone, but for some reason not called a recession. Is it the greed-driven price spiral that is being pawned off (see what I did there?) as "inflation"? I choose to blame Macklemore, TikTok, hipsters and Youtubers like Lazy Game Reviewer's thrift store haul videos. Regardless of which mantra you use to take the sting away from holey Levi's and pricier-than-new used furniture, you may have caught on that the secondhand market is a pain to deal with. The good part is that SKTL has your back for clothing. Our wildly-popular free clothing swap was a hit in May, with more than 3,000 lbs of garments, shoes and accessories diverted away from landfills. Not to mention this weekend (Saturday, June 10th), we have a Repair Cafe with seamstresses who will give a second or third chance to your favorite garments, in addition to fixers who will breathe new life into your electronics. For folks not in the area, I don't blame you for ordering new clothes to counterintuitively save money over thrifting; there is no economic incentive to not order this 5-pack of t-shirts delivered to your home for $14.
I'm split on using Facebook, though. Buy Nothing groups are great for household goods and they have community buy-in. The Facebook Marketplace, however, is a mixed bag. Just like Craigslist, half the buyers and sellers are flakes, and it can be quite difficult to even get rid of free stuff. I have over 30 conversations with people who wanted my free basket shelves, but then completely ghosted me after the first exchange of words. Basically, if you don't reply to someone's question within 2 minutes, you might as well save your fingers the energy of typing cause they are GONE. But what's the alternative? FEEbay? eBay is a little too lenient for sellers of junk, but when someone is interested, they are committed to the sale. Buying and selling games there is this writer's favorite use of the platform. My call to action here is to be on time and communicative if you're buying or selling on these platforms.
You know who loses out on a frustrating secondhand market? Our favorite global host: the planet. I know it's corny to say. The question we ask ourselves every day is whether we like the planet more than we hate working. Maybe that's harsh. How about, "Do I want change to come to me, or do I want to go out and make it happen, often at a higher cost?" It's so hard to make the latter choice, especially when the former is offered up so neatly and cheaply! For all my ragging on (see wha-...never mind) platforms and communication here, the community truly does come through in such a positive way for all of our free SKTL swaps and repair events. It feels so good to see participants walking out with BAGS of clothing that didn't cost any of us anything. THAT is the way to do it.
And in case you missed it, here's the link to the Saturday, June 10th Repair Cafe event!