I’ve read that Paris Hilton wears a T-shirt once, has it dry cleaned, and after the second time she wears it she gives it away.
I wonder where it goes. Her staff? Her cleaning ladies? Charity?
Ah, charity. Lately our Mountain Communities SPCA has set up a Thrift Store and we get T-shirts. Every day people swing into the store with big black plastic bags of stuff, including hundreds of used stuffed animals, jeans, shirts—and T-shirts.
We are glad of their donations because selling them make possible the spay/neuter of cats and dogs which reduce the misery, both human and animal, of unwanted kittens and puppies. But this is just a little store of 1400 square feet in Frazier Park, small town California.
Until I began volunteering in the SPCA Thrift Shop, I felt quite virtuous bagging up my unwanted clothes—my stuff—and taking it into a good cause thrift shop. I dumped it off, claimed the donation slip, and argued with myself about what to put down for a tax deduction. Surely that bag of perfectly good clothes was worth twenty dollars.
And what about the tchtchotkes—the teapot with the chip in it, all those mismatched plates, the macramé candle holder?
Every economist pundit ought to spend some time digging through black plastic bags in a thrift shop. There is absolutely no relationship between price and value. None.
You are sentimentally attached to that Long Beach Blues Festival ’89 Tshirt. There’s plenty of good wear in it. It should maybe sell for five bucks. You paid $15 for it when $15 was a hunk of money to lay down for a T-shirt.
Hate to tell you this, but we can’t even sell that T-shirt.
Now we are just learning the thrift shop business. We are looking for homeless shelters and churches who will accept our donations of stuff that we can’t sell and we can’t store. I’m learning about expediters who ship containers of T-shirts and jeans overseas.
A young family I know is moving to Norway. They live according to the three Rs: Reduce (buy less); Reuse (extend the clothing lifespan); and Recycle (polish your car with that old T-shirt). They thrift shop, they make do, they do without.
One of their little boys noticed that their friends have “shiny things.” Maybe it’s because the paint or the finish has rub off the old toys these boys play with?
Their parents explain the 3rs, that in their family this is the way they do things. Handling Mother Earth with gentleness and respect is what they do in their family. Other families do what works for them.
Pretty good rules for living, don’t you think?