Sunday, June 07, 2009

The hang-onto-it society

I have had no luck finding "gems" in the op shops. The stuff in the Salvation Army shop is mostly ex-Glassons and other retailers that specialise in the cheap 'n' cheerful. The stuff in the Red Cross shop is more of the same (though I did once find a Robyn Mathieson dress that was, unfortunately, a terrible colour for me).

And yet, bloggers across America seem to unearth vintage pillowcases, antique lacy bridal gowns and 60's retro fabrics all the time - and for very little.

Either I'm just terribly bad at snagging bargains (which, I'll admit, I am), or New Zealanders tend to hang onto their stuff for as long as possible - before selling it off on TradeMe. If our car-owning culture is anything to go by (i.e. we hang onto a car until the bodies fall apart from rust, and them try to flog it off to a student for a few hundred bucks), then this is an equally likely explanation.

I think I prefer the latter.

7 comments:

Pollyanna_H said...

I entirely concur Violet! The one possibility for striking it lucky is hitting the shop immediately after someone has dropped off all of a deceased relative's wardrobe (where said ancestor was rich and/or obsessed by quality). But I suspect that the people who run the upmarket second hand dress shops probably get first pickings of those ....

Make Tea Not War said...

I think the latter explanation is correct. NZers are, on average, materially much poorer than people in the US. We have less stuff, our clothing is generally not of high quality, and we hang onto it longer

aprilbapryll said...

This is a timely post for me - the Goodwill superstore just opened down the street from me. Since when do thrift stores have "superstores"? I have the same problem as you - I never find anything. My mom finds great things on thrift, but she also is a far more frequent shopper than I.

I am a great clearance sale gal though.

donnasoowho said...

Me neither!!

I've never found anything vaguely useable in a second hand clothing shop/jumble sale at school fete etc. But my sister (who lives NZ) has a knack for finding loads of really awesome things that she can re-fashion or whatever. I think I lack the ability to see the potential.

And also I can't get past how smelly second handy shops are. I went into one a few weeks ago in St Kilda which was sort of uber trendy (all the frocks were priced about $80-$100 and categorised according to era etc) and it smelled fusty.

Antoinette said...

The vintage fabrics I find in the U.S. are more 80's and 90's, 70's if I'm lucky, and I'm not too much into the lacy early 20th century dressing gowns.... We have had an incredibly consumerist/ disposable culture the past 20 years and I've been as guilty as the next. I think some of us are getting the hang of habits in the new economy a little late.

Violet said...

There's not much I can add to your comments - I am also terrible at finding decent car parks close to where I actually want to go. And I, too, am usually put off by the fusty smell in second hand shops. Though, if the dresses were selling for $100 then I'd expect some sort of pre-sale deodorising.

donnasoowho said...

Well I would have thought dry cleaning at least!

ps (I can find car parks, I just can't park in them).