Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If It's Not NEW, It's EWWW!

For other people, perhaps, but not me. (A shout out to the Thrifty Chicks blog, where I lifted the above phrase.)  I've been loving to thrift shop ever since I discovered them.  My only regret was not discovering them earlier than I did.  I shudder to think about how much money I wasted shopping retail in my youth.  By the time my first son was born, I wised up.  Most of his baby clothes and through his toddler years to about five were all purchaed at thrift stores.  Beyond that, boys are so tough on clothes, especially pants, that I had to resort to retail sales items.  But I figure I saved a small fortune regardless.

But most mothers are not like me.  They want the best for their progeny, and will spare no funds.  If it's not new, it's ewww!  Seriously.  Even my late mother-in-law, God rest her soul, looked upon me with disapproval when we let it slip that her grandsons were dressed in second hand clothes from the thrift stores.  You see, she was a product of the Depression Era and lived through some hard times in her youth.  It did not matter that her father was one of the very few who never got laid off because he was a deputy sheriff and a big wig in the small town where she grew up.  Anything that was previously used, to her, was garbage. 

In her mind, even true, honest to goodness antique furniture that a well-to-do person would willingly pay thousands, if not tens of thousands for at auction at Christie's or Sotheby's was rubbish.  So she just never understood why we would pay several hundred dollars to buy a piece of antique furniture, because it was somebody's cast off any way she looked at it, regardless of the fine craftsmanship you just cannot get in brand new furniture.  When we told her it was part investment, since we knew when time came for us to sell the antique, we could probably recoup the purchase cost, she just shook her head as if she thought we were crazy.  She was content to buy a cheaply made set of furniture from Sam's Club that was "Made in China."

On a grander scale, this was the case in McAllen, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley where my younger son was born and where we lived for two years.  Now, this is a part of Texas that is very poor and where there is a very high percentage of people living in the lowest of low socio-economic level.  Yet, there was a building boom the whole time we lived there, and from what I understand, nothing has changed in the 15 or so years since we lived there.  In McAllen and the nearby suburbs, big, brand new single story houses with soaring ceilings were all the rage.  And the operative word was "NEW."  The market was so strange in that previously occupied houses had a hard time selling compared to new construction. People wanted houses that no hands had touched except those of the workmen that built it. 

The weirdest part of the whole equation was that McAllen and the entire Rio Grande Valley had no major industry except for citrus and other agriculture, but nothing you could get really rich off of.  That is, except for the underground "industry" of dope smuggling across the Mexico border.  McAllen just did not have enough jobs to justify all of the nonstop construction.  So did that mean that the neighbor next door was involved in the "industry" somehow?  I never found out.  Rumor had it that a high school in Starr County near McAllen received an anonymous cash donation to build a school gymnasium upon the condition that it had to be built in the shape of a marijuana leaf, and it was.  But I digress.

The point I was trying to make is that "used" is not a bad thing. Not at all.  In fact, even my mother-in-law knew that, though she didn't realize it.  She left her diamond rings to her granddaughters in her will.  If "used" was truly that bad, she wouldn't have, right? 

; )

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