Anyone who has read the blog for long knows I love my second hand shops but there has been a few interesting things happening to them over the past years that is not being talked about.
So lets have a little chat on some of the myths of second hand shops
Myth 1- Cheap Prices
Depends on where you are live and where you are going.. you need to know your prices, you need to know your brands and you need to go often.. and know that the truly amazing items are cherry picked by the staff and by the first people that go into the store..
There is a reason that people are lined up half a block long on the first opening day at my local favorite shop and if you know you want a certain something.. you had better head there fast to see what you can find.
Price creep at the second hand stores is a real thing.. 15 years ago.. shirts were a dollar and this was two dollars and so forth.. now at our local stores, it will say things like shirts 2 to 4 dollars per shirt depending.. all of the items now have a “choice” of prices and you do not know what you will get until you get to the till and who runs the till really can change what the end price will be.
However the WORST price creep is in the city’s.. value village or the bigger run stores.. I have seen dollar store items costing more then there then the dollar store.. WT Bleep?
Now having said that.. there are still sale days to be had, bag day’s or super saver pricing can be found, you just need to watch for it and snap it up when it comes.
Myth 2 -It will always be there..
there is so much stuff that needs to find a home.. this was true before kijji and facebook market place.. and it depends on where you live again.. but locally in my neck of the woods.. the second hand shops that support amazing community programs are seeing drop off of donations..
This is coming from a number of different places..
first people are not buying the “cheap” one season clothing at the rate they used to be.. don’t believe me.. have a look at how many clothing stores that made their living off.. fast and cheap “fashion” clothing have closed down in the past five years..
There is a huge amount of people that are starting to buy higher quality stuff but this means that they want it to last, they look after it better and they are not buying new replacement gear and dropping off bags of things to the second hand stores.
We are seeing a lot of pulling back due to the unspoken recession we are living in.. you do not go buy new plates or new chairs or new “keep up with the jones” stuff when you are worrying about making your regular payments.. you keep what you have.. and that means much less donations.
They say that there are a huge amount of Canadian’s that are less then 200 dollars left in the bank between paychecks.. food is more important then keeping up with “the next fad”
Then you have the fact that those who do know the value of their items are doing their best to sell them in the marketplace instead of giving them away.. this massively decreases the funneling at the community thrift stores.
There are more and more estate sales or farm sales as instead of more being given away, the next generations do their best to get every dollar out of what was left.
Last but not least (and there are more I am sure) when you have the crazy housing crunch we are in and you have generations living together.. you are not combining multiple houses.. you are never buying or filling that next house..
Just as they are doing their best to keep elders in place at home, they are working hard and rightly so to keep generational wealth within the family.. which means less is being given away.
Myth 3- Older stuff is better quality
That is true and I know it, I have so many things in my home for that very reason.. but here is the catch..
Most of the really good stuff, the sturdy made, the made to last a lifetime items.. they are the most likely to be sent to market place, they are most likely be the things asked for by one of the grandkids..
The simple truth is that its getting harder and harder to find those type items at the second hand shops.. Its far more common now to see and find the cheaper items..
This is beyond cherry picking.. this is the new normal.. its been 40 years give or take since company’s turned one after another from being well built to being sent oversea’s to being made with plans that its only good for one year, five years or ten years..
See the issues.. its a simple math one..
Built to last stopped 20 to 40 years ago..
Most of the stuff in the thrift stores right now are made in the last 10 years..
Crap is crap no matter where its at.. regular stores, reduced store, dollar stores or thrift stores..
Now that does not mean that I am saying don’t go there.. go but lower your expectations and do not plan on counting on them in the future in the way we used to..
Sadly more and more households are being totally wiped out due to climate issues, fires burning out whole houses, whole area’s.. Flooding taking out houses, whole streets, whole communities.
What can be saved after a natural disaster in terms of damage is very limited.. and when people are gifting out extra’s.. they are more likely to give privately
Those folks that do not have insurance or more likely was greatly under insured of turn to the market place and the thrift stores to help redo their homes.. While there is nothing wrong with this.. it does put another downward pressure on the system that at one point was used as a buffer for the low income families in our area..
That buffer is getting thinner..