We spent some time with my Dad recently and over breakfast the topic of my blog came up in conversation. Dad mentioned, in jest, that I was, hmm, how do I put this? Ikey. It’s definitely a Dad word from another generation but to give you some insight, others might use the word tight or tightwad, cheap, scungy. You get the idea.
I have to admit to being a bit disheartened that this was the only message Dad took with him after reading A Little Change.
After all, he was voicing my biggest fear, my stopper. The thought that pulls my hand back from the pre-loved item and has me wondering if I need to go back to the department store again.
The fear of what would people think?
I have to remind myself of the reasons why I choose to buy pre-loved goods whether it be second-hand, vintage or antique, over store bought items.
I want to give respect to a product that still has another life in it. Many brand new items, be it furniture, clothes or toys, are now available so cheaply we’ve lost the ability to take care of our things. If something breaks or rips it’s quicker and cheaper to go and buy something new, so that is what we do, with little thought to the process and the energy it took to get the product to us in the first place.
Living within our means
I’m not talking about living within our means financially (although that helps) I’m talking about living Earth-nancially (I just made that word up – could you tell?) We are currently using about 50% more natural resources than the planet can regenerate. There will be a day when the Earth’s resource tap is going to run dry and to stop this from happening or at least slow it down we need to reduce our consumer lifestyle and start just being happy with what we’ve got and re-using it.
Stepping Outside the Consumer Cycle
We are constantly told, whether we know we are being told or not, we need things. Things that we can’t do without, things that will make our life somehow better, easier, efficient. And they all have to be new. New and improved and in a different colour with a new shine. Well, I have gotten to a point where I am saying, Do you know what? I think I’m okay. I’ve got all the things I need, more than I need in fact. Bar food, water and shelter the rest are just wants.
Taking myself out of the Demand Chain
Every time we buy something, we send a message to producers saying, “I want this – quick, make more!” I do get a certain satisfaction that by buying second-hand I am ducking under this radar. The things I buy aren’t generating a sales figure which tells department stores, “The consumers are loving this! Let’s get more, more more!” (That’s what they do I’m sure, then they probably ring a big bell or something like that.) Instead, the message I’m sending is that buying second-hand is okay. If you have been a second-hand shopper for a while you will have noticed that this message has been heard loud and clear as second-hand shops are nothing like the divey, dig-for-treasure-through-a-load-of-crap shops they used to be but organised, well-run and aesthetically pleasing shopper paradises.
I can try and find the right labels and ask the right questions, is it locally made? Is it locally owned? Was it ethically made? Was this cotton organically grown? Was the labour paid a fair price? Am I being charged a fair price? But to be honest with you I find it exhausting and stressful because products very rarely tick all the boxes. By shopping second-hand I know I’m already on the right track because I am reducing consumer demand and re-using and respecting still perfectly good products.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But…
What would people think?
Hmmmm. I think I would have to use some wise words from Dad himself for this one.
Tell em’ to stuff it up their jumper! (Second-hand jumper of course!)
What fear hold you back from buying pre-loved products?