The Two Faces of Goodwill

Listen, I love thrift shopping just like every other “hip” teen. Levi jeans from 1992? What a find! But in lovely suburbia, we don’t have any of the specially tailored thrift stores for the general 17-25 demographic. We just have typical secondhand stores. Goodwills and consignment stores. When these stores initially opened their doors, they were not looking to help people in my position. Little by little, as I kept hunting for the perfect trench coat, I thought about the ethics of someone like me shopping at Goodwill. While we don’t sweat out hundred dollar bills, my family is financially stable. We don’t need to shop at Goodwill. Since we are in this position, is it insulting for me to intentionally buy clothing that is not being sold for people in my position? Again, I don’t need to shop at these stores; their unique items are what appeal to me. 

I brought this issue up with my sister because I had trouble deciphering between over analysis and  inconsideration. My sister told me she, as a fellow thrifter, has asked herself the same question. The conclusion she explained to me seems to make sense. 

By shopping at these stores, financially stable individuals are not “taking away” from the less fortunate. In fact, by supporting these businesses, we give more financial support for the owners to keep their doors open. Plus, what if the tables were turned? Should higher-end stores deny costumers that can’t eat diamonds for breakfast? Plus, I definitely don’t think there is some sort of income limit if everyone just wants a good deal. There are a lot more variables and discussion points on this matter, and this Quora discussion thread gives a few better explanations from people who actually know how to write about this matter. At the end of the day, simply reminding ourselves of or economical position helps us keep others in mind. Means should definitely be taken to help the less fortunate, but I don’t think staying out of thrift stores is the answer to that problem. 

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