Today we’re going to get a bit serious and naval-gazey here at opshopped with the following question;
Is it ok to shop at op shops when you can afford to shop elsewhere?
In the world of recycled fashion, furniture and homewares, we’ve been hailing op shops and op shoppers for years. It’s cheap, sustainable and it’s funding non-profit organisations such as the Salvation Army and RSPCA.
Many bloggers have a addressed the issue of rising costs at op shops. I’m never surprised to be paying $10 for a dress or several hundred for a piece of furniture. As most people have pointed out, the costs of running a store have risen and like any business, these costs need to be passed on to the consumer.
But I’m willing to bet that part of the reason for rising costs is demand. Op shopping is cool now; follow any fashion blog and you’ll often see people proudly stating that part of their outfit is thrifted or vintage.
If an op shop can get $10 for a dress, why would they sell it for $3? They may be not-for-profit but the more money they make, the more they can put towards their charity and that can be passed on as more food vouchers or more beds in an animal shelter or more marketing to change government policies.
But for many people, $10 for a dress is quite a lot. Op shops have always been the go-to for people with little to no disposable income and just because it’s becoming cool to buy second hand does not mean that everyone is suddenly able to afford the price rises.
I’ve often felt that when it comes to pricing, op shops should be able to inflate the prices on vintage clothing or brands but keep basics cheap. It’s always felt like a nice compromise and after all, I’m willing to pay a bit extra for something more unique.
But why should I be able to buy something different (that I can proudly say “it’s vintage!”) just because I can afford it? Why should I get to wear all the cool clothes? A few posts back, I mentioned I bought a Lisa Ho fur jacket for $50 which is a total bargain for me, but pretty expensive for some of the people who were shopping at the time. Should the name brand stuff be off limits to those who are just looking for cheap clothes out of necessity?
To be honest, I don’t see myself not op shopping because I do feel like the money I’m spending that go toward important causes have a bigger effect than price rises I may be causing. I also like that my money goes towards non-profits rather than shareholders. And let’s face it; I like buying something that to me is cheap, unique and durable.
I’d like to hear what other people think – I’ve really only touched on women’s clothing here, but maybe also consider furniture, books and kid’s clothing. If you’re brave, you can discuss the murky world of reselling from op shops.