Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trying to do the right thing: Goodwill purchasing

I was looking at a review about Heather Mills new line of clothing today, and several of the comments were aimed at how "green" or "responsible" is it to make new clothing out of old. It was put forth that for those of us who go and buy these articles at the thrift stores and then cut them up to resell them, we are just depriving people who need to shop there of the items. It is a thought I had [yesterday] as I piled sweaters into my cart at Goodwill.

Thinking through it further, I see two scenarios:
1- items donated; people employed to clean, stock, etc; item purchased and worn
2- item donated; people employed to clean, stock, etc; item purchase; item repurposed employing me; item sold again employing etsy or other ventures; item purchased; item worn - possibly negating the need for purchasing new goods and maybe... item eventually donated, people employed to clean, stock, etc; item repurchased...

Beyond that, Goodwill themselves has had campaigns aimed at the general public urging us to shop them instead of traditional retailers. Here is a quote from Goodwill's F&Q page:
"If I shop at a Goodwill store, will I be depriving disadvantaged people of stuff they need?
No. Goodwill serves disadvantaged people by educating, training and placing them into jobs. By becoming gainfully employed, these individuals gain resources to buy the things they need. Many disadvantaged people who are in training or are employed by Goodwill Industries are offered vouchers or discounts at Goodwill retail stores."

However, I do think this is a great example of how doing the right thing is never clear or seen the same by different individuals.


EmptyKnits said...

Great entry - I love shopping at Goodwill and get some of my best clothes there, though a friend once accused me of "stealing from poor people" ... Thanks for helping take the stigma out of buying secondhand!

Kuutydruk said...

Hello! I just found your shop in Etsy. I really like your creations. I wanted to let you know, that i put one of your wristcuffs to my blog Treasure.
You are welcome to check it out, if you have time or intrest.

Tania Pelletier said...

I shop at Goodwill all the time, love it! I agree with you and I think there are PLENTY of clothes to go around... I don't notice a shortage of clothing to choose from at my local Goodwill's do you??

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. I often feel guilty if I chop up a serviceable item of clothing, instead of donating it to the thrift store. Is it more responsible to re-purpose or donate? It's an ongoing internal discussion-- I feel comforted knowing there are others out there concerned about doing the right thing, too!