This post is from my dear friend, Angelika. Check out her great blog, Thrift Shopper for Peace.
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I’m not sure if it’s an honour or a punishment to be doing a guest blog post for Anna-Marie.
It’s an honour because she is my friend and thrift-shopping-soul-mate. I am always happy when I find someone who gets me.
It’s an honour because I also share Anna-Marie’s concerns around consumption, our responsibility in the global market place, and care for the earth. It’s why my blog is called Thriftshopper for Peace – my blog is as much about sharing my thrift scores as it is about my desire to be a peacemaker. Being at peace with my fellow human beings and with the earth is as important to me as being a good steward of my resources.
Both Anna and I come by our love of thrift honestly. We both have parents and grandparents who are thrift minded. Honestly, I think it’s part of my DNA. When I think of poverty on a global scale, I know that my parents were not poor. But we weren’t wealthy either. My mom scrimped and saved and turned every penny over twice before spending it. She embodies the phrase “get blood from a stone.” Thrift shopping was just what we did, always. So now, when I think of purchasing something, I just naturally turn to a thrift shop first and when I’m tired of something, I always try to either donate it to a thrift shop or repurpose it to give it another life.
So why does doing a guest blog here feel like punishment, then? For a whole year I’ve followed Anna’s blog and journeyed with her through a year of non-consumption. Here I was feeling all smug and virtuous about being a thrift shopper and then Anna made me think, dammit. She made me think about a whole host of things, not the least of which is whether or not my penchant for shopping thrift is enough.
Certainly, buying a pair of jeans at a thrift shop is better than buying retail, right? I’m spending less money, I’m not supporting a third-world sweat-shop, I’m keeping the item out of a landfill and supporting a charity. How can that be bad?
Ever since I started reading Anna’s blog, I’ve felt her sitting on my shoulder as I’ve gone about my thrift routine. “Sure that looks great, but do you really need another top?” “Yes that’s a great deal but you can’t fit another beer glass in your cupboard – do you really need it?” Anna-Marie’s journey of non-consumption has truly impacted me because, just as my mom turned over every penny twice, I now look at every thrift purchase twice and ask myself whether or not I need to buy it. Just because it’s a deal, doesn’t mean I need to own it. I think I’ve actually shopped less because of her blog. She hasn’t quite ruined my love for thrift shopping… but she has certainly made me think more deeply about my responsibility as a consumer, even a thrift- minded consumer.
In the end, I guess that’s not a punishment after all… it’s simply a challenge to be more thoughtful. How have you been challenged as you’ve followed Anna’s journey?