I have teenage twins — one boy, one girl. Life offers no better sociology experiment than parenting a set of boy/girl twins. It’s fascinating how two children, exposed to almost an identical environment, can grow into such remarkably different people.
My daughter is a savvy shopper, always hungry for a bargain and not afraid to do a little work to get a good deal. If I gave her $50 to shop, she’d come away with 10 garments, most of them second hand, and most of them from Goodwill or some seller on Poshmark or Pinterest. My son sticks to a few name brands; he wants to spend zero time shopping and decides he needs a new golf shirt when he’s scheduled to golf with a friend in an hour. If I gave him $50 to shop, he’d say he needs another $10 to get the one item he likes.
When I was young there was no internet to shop for used goods, and while there were consignment shops, I don’t remember shopping at them. My grandparents were yard sale hounds — they spent weekends going around to all the Yard sales looking for good deals, just to amass enough stuff to have their own yard sale to sell all the stuff they got at yard sales! I hated going to yard sales and I really hated working at my grandparent’s yard sales.
The fact that my daughter is thrifty — she’ll spend hours shopping at Goodwill and come home with everything from a handmade quilt to a North Face jacket — is interesting because I know she didn’t learn that from me.
I think it’s a generational thing. My daughter finds a lot of inspiration for thrifting and “upcycling” through social media. If an influencer shares how she made throw pillows out of an old curtain — you better believe there are going to be a lot of young people suddenly looking for old curtains to make their cool new pillows. And I don’t think my daughter is an outlier. I know other girls her age who enjoy the hunt for good second-hand finds, or using old things to make new things. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression so I understand their mindset for a good bargain, to reuse items again and again. But for my daughter, it’s just fun, and I think she’s somewhat aware of how mass production and manufacturing contributes to bigger global issues.
I am always impressed when my daughter shows me her second-hand bounty, even though I sometimes think to myself that whatever she got is something we might have donated to Goodwill three years ago. Bravo to the younger generation for being smart and savvy consumers. Your great-grandparents would be proud. Learn more about thrifting and upcycling in the article on page 60.