Online Thrift Shops – Are They Really Sustainable?
Have you ever seen a piece of clothing and instantly knew it was meant to be in your closet? The feeling rarely happens, so when I felt that excitement scanning online for this secondhand jumpsuit, I knew I was about to make a great purchase. That is, until I saw the price tag. It was a little much for me, so I decided to sleep on it to make a conscious decision.
The next morning my gut told me the jumpsuit would be a great investment, so I logged into thredUP to buy it. Unfortunately the piece was now in someone else’s cart and unavailable! My heart sank.
I crossed my fingers in hopes the other person wouldn’t commit to the purchase. Every day for a week I checked the status of the jumpsuit, but it hadn’t budged from the user’s cart.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and contacted thredUP to tell them that I’m dying to buy this jumpsuit, but it’s been in someone’s cart for a really long time. I told them that if they could make the jumpsuit available for purchase, I’d buy it on the spot. They agreed and I was able to snag it! Talk about achieving victory and demanding what you want from life! Here are some detailed shots of this beauty:
I thought this situation was funny because:
- It made me realize how much I love this piece because I was willing to put up a fight for it (and therefore know it was meant to be!).
- It never occurred to me how frustrating online thrift shops could be.
For that second point, let me explain. I’m ALL about secondhand fashion – it’s my jam – but if something really special is on thredUP or Depop, I might just have minutes to decided to buy it before someone else snags it up.
This was a perplexing realization. I want to make extremely conscious purchases, but when there’s only ‘one’ of every item you see on online thrift shops, it urges the user to purchase spontaneously. When it comes to online thrift stores, I found that I am rewarded for buying quickly, not for taking my time to make sure a purchase will surely bring use, quality, and happiness to my life.
I find this to be a bit different from in-person thrift shopping because the massive number of people looking at the same item(s). When I thrift shop in person, once I’m looking at something I can take as much time as I need to decide if I want to buy it… and even put it on hold at the register. Also, perhaps there’s some blissful ignorance shopping in real life thrift stores, because I can’t visually see every product in a matter of seconds, I need to go through the racks, so I don’t realize what I’ve missed out on.
The goods news is that thredUP does free returns (for store credit), so maybe quick buys on online thrift shops aren’t bad after all?
What do you think?
Does shopping sustainably via online thrift shops conflict with your ‘purchase with purpose’ ritual? What do you think is the most sustainable way to shop? I’d love to know if anyone else has been in this situation. Please share your thoughts!