Being Bad With Thrift

When is it good to buy bad?

While I believe in absolute luxury, we all have to come to terms with the obstacles of cost, time, and effort, and now environmental and ethical issues as well. Buying used is one of the best ways to overcome that.

I started buying used books purely for economic reasons. I loved to read, and dreamed of a library like the one in Beauty and the Beast. At 12-30$ each though, that could add up really quick. Used books could easily be bought for about 6$, and sometimes even as little as a few pennies. And the thrill of the hunt, when not simply scouring Amazon, was a lot of fun. I spent many sunny summer afternoons as a teenager locked away in one particular used bookstore downtown that had a whole wall of books on the paranormal. I treasure the books I bought there to this day, and they hold a lot of those memories for me. Old books can often fall into the category of affordable antiques, each one a little piece of history. I recently bought a bible from 1912 with all the names and addresses of the previous owners. One day I hope to read a book so old that the Ss look like Fs. That would be a real treat. It also helps that used books don’t signify that I haven’t read them yet, a testament to my terrible ADD. Plus new books are just so… crisp and modern. Blech.
It was only years later, when the Kindle came on the scene that I started paying more attention to the fact that all this paper consumption was a pretty destructive thing. Yet as much as I adore the Kindle, there’s just something to be said for shelves full of old books, a beautiful display of your little literary hopes and accomplishments (though after Mike gets one, I think I may just become a convert. The thing looks AWESOME). So what did I do? I kept buying used, of course. And now that I’m thinking more about the environmental consequences, AND saving for a house, I now make even more of a point of it. Even the newest publications can often be found used in as little as a few weeks. I’m having my cake and eating it too.

A few years after that I started reading a vintage lifestyle forum. One of the more interesting threads was about women who, while they would NEVER buy real, new fur, had no qualms about buying and wearing vintage fur. While I can still see there being a moral dilemma here, it’s worth at least considering. You’re not supporting an industry that harms and promotes the harm of animals, you’re recycling, and you’re at least giving the poor thing a good home as opposed to unceremoniously tossing it in the trash. These are not people who disrespect animals. In fact they’re wearing the vintage fur because it’s already out there, so it may as well go to use for someone who really appreciates it. This is an ongoing debate, but it makes perfect sense to me, even while I find most fur to be somewhat hard to pull off without looking like a tacky Cruella Deville. I do consider that a fur hat and wrap in the winter could be extremely nice. Leather comes into play here as well.

So go ahead and indulge in the things you want. Just remember to be creative while doing it, and give a good home to those “bad” things that others may now be avoiding more than ever. Reducing, reusing, and recycling means more wonderful things for all of us to enjoy.

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