Thrift shopping controversy

Shopping at thrift and second hand clothing stores have become a popular trend, especially with help from influencers and songs like “Thrift Shop,” by Macklemore. Although shopping for unique clothing options with a low price tag is intriguing, there are people who depend on those stores for their clothes, not to brag to their friends about their fashion taste. People need to be aware of this and ask themselves if a vintage sweatshirt is necessary for their wardrobes. 

I’m not saying stop thrifting all together, but it is important to reflect on how it impacts other people. There was a time in which shopping at thrift stores was looked down upon and now it is popular. 

Although this seems all and well, some people depend upon these stores for their everyday clothes. The influx of people who don’t necessarily need to shop there is affecting those who do. 

Scholars Mark Mitchell and Rob Montgomery did a study on “An Examination of Thrift Store Shoppers,” in which they found that 58 percent of the people studied sought clothes for monetary value. The people with the lowest percentage for this category were undergraduate four-year college students. 

Sophomore sociology major Dana Walcott, expressed her thoughts on the topic.

“I feel as though the population of people with higher income go to thrift stores to find treasure,” Walcott said. “I do believe that if you can afford expensive clothing, you should be considerate.” 

It is important to be mindful of others when thrift shopping because the impact of new customers will drive up the demand for these items. This sounds great in theory, but it causes issues that affect the characteristics of the stores that were once loved by all. 

This comes with a change in price because of increased competition and customers. This evidence is supported by The Association of Resale Professionals by explaining that the industry sales have increased seven percent in the last two years. Therefore, the trend ends up benefiting the people looking for cute niche clothes for specific styles, but not for those in need of these clothes; it takes away people’s options. 

Even I like a good bargain but the over-saturation of second-hand shopping and thrifting needs to be checked. Maybe by creating separate, new second-hand stores would help with the issue. 

According to the Atlantic Marketing Journal on “Examining the Demographic Profiles of Thrift Store Donors and Thrift Store Shoppers,” it said that category upgrading for thrift stores is an upcoming phenomenon, in which thrift stores like GoodWill are trying to lose their low-end image by revamping their stores. It even mentions creating “boutique stores” that will carry higher-end clothing options. Other stores like Plato’s Closet and a few online stores could help dilute the issue. 

Next time you walk into a Salvation Army and pick up a shirt that you want to buy, ask yourself if you truly want it more than someone else might need it.

Tayanna Carman

Sophomore journalism major

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