The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook Group is a great resource for readers who want more of an interactive experience. Dozens of members post on a day basis, varying from non-consumer related links to questions to inspirational quotes. I try to keep a close eye on the group, but for the most part it’s an extremely positive and safe place for its almost 6000 members. (And since it’s a closed group, people often post very personal things.)
However, on days that I work, (when I’m gone from the house from 6:15 A.M. – 8:30 P.M.) the group has to function without a moderator, which is generally no big deal as we’re all adults.
But yesterday one member posted this:
“I have seen several posts on this group as of late about buying an item for a low price just to sell it for more. What gives? I would think being a NCA you would want other people to find a good deal or sell something at a good price. Not sure my thoughts follow the greedy mentally I have seen in the last several posts that have graced my newsfeed.”
By the time I came home from work, there were 172 replies, and the original poster had left the group in an angry huff.
I wasn’t part of the conversation, but many were. Mostly from group members who questioned why it was considered “greedy” to supplement one’s income by keeping an eye out for underpriced thrift store items to sell. I do it, as has anyone who ever operated an antique store or resale shop.
Buy low, sell high. It’s commerce.
I do it to supplement my family’s income so that my sons can have a sliver of a chance of graduating from college without a mountain of debt. And yes, I do buy from thrift stores. I also buy pretty much everything else my family owns from thrift stores. Our furniture, clothing, bedding, most gifts and our household items. It’s all from thrift stores.
I think the original poster’s issue is that she sees thrift stores solely as a resource for the poverty stricken; and that those who are able to pay their bills have no right to shop there, as each purchase of an item by a financially comfortable person then deprives someone in need.
Has she seen the excess of stuff in thrift stores?! Umm . . . there’s enough for everyone!
Also, most thrift stores exist to raise money for their individual causes. Whether it’s for animal shelters, barriers to employment, homeless outreach or teen challenges, thrift stores want anyone and everyone to spend their money in their facilities.
When I buy an item at Goodwill for the sole purpose of cleaning it up for resale, I’m supporting that particular cause just as much as anyone else. I’m supporting my own goal of working part time while my kids are at home, and I’m sourcing cool stuff for buyers who have neither time nor interest to browse through their area thrift stores. I take the time to research my finds, clean and/or repair them, photograph and then list them for sale.
It’s not greedy.
No one buys anything from me who isn’t looking for that exact item. They’re happy to have found the perfect (and freshly shampooed) rug for their daughter’s room or the exact fireplace andirons that their grandmother had. (True examples.)
Being a non-consumer doesn’t mean that I’m not working to boost my income. And I give credit to anyone who puts in the time and work to do the same.
Do you feel it’s unethical to shop thrift stores with an eye for resale? Please share your respectful responses in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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