I find that there is a general misconception about teenagers and non-consumerism. “My daughter only wants to shop at the mall” and “My son thinks that used clothing is gross.” But I’m here to tell you that teenagers are smart, and they quickly learn that a set amount of money can either buy you a single item at the mall or a full bag of stuff from a thrift shop. (Maybe even with change leftover for an overly sweetened latté.)
Teenagers may be loath to admit it, but they get their attitudes from us. And if buying used is presented as a way to get a “yes” instead of a “maybe for Christmas” from mom and dad, then they quickly convert their views.
I recently coerced my fifteen-year-old son into a day of thrifting, and while he whined a bit at first, he quickly changed his tune when he scored two new looking pairs of Adidas MLS Match soccer shorts in the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake colors. Priced at $7, they were also the half-off color which brought them down to $3.50 apiece instead of the new price of $30. Add to that the brand new set of Pentel pens at $3.99 instead of $17.00 and it was almost enough to make him smile. (He was actually super excited about the Goodwill finds, just not so keen about having his picture taken.)
Our next stop was the main Goodwill where he found a new looking pair of Nike Elite running shoes in his size for $4.99. These shoes normally cost $110, so it didn’t surprise me when he complained about going home.
“Just one more Goodwill, mom! Pleeeeeeaaaase . . .”
Would I have bought him two pairs of $30 Adidas shorts, a $17 Pentel pen set and a $110 pair of Nikes? ($187 for all you math geeks.)
But I was perfectly happy to shell out $16 for some much wanted and fully appreciated Goodwill goodies.
Because teenagers are smart about non-consumerism. Then again, so am I.
Have you found that the teenagers in your life resist your non-consumer ways, or are they quick to see the benefit? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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