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Sat May 1, 2021, 02:02 PM

The Complicated Reality of Thrift Store 'Gentrification'

Once again young rich and often white people steal from the poor by going into thier areas and taking all their nice things.

https://jezebel.com/the-complicated-reality-of-thrift-store-gentrification-1846113458


“When you yuppie scalpers fill up your shopping carts you fuck over the lower class, designer students, and both,” TikTok user @pheusthefetus says in a video with over 90,000 views checking out a local “gentrified thrift store,” where he points to two pairs of sneakers priced $69.99 and $79.99, not much lower than what he finds later at a local store for brand new. Someone writes “depop sellers 🤝 landlords,” in the comments, referring to the London-based resale app that brands itself as “peer-to-peer shopping.” “This is fcking gentrification,” reads the caption of another TikTok with over 290,000 complaining about a Depop seller advertising a $50 vest they “probably thrifted for two dollars,” among other wares.

Shopping secondhand in an era of fast fashion might seem like an ethical no-brainer, but enthusiastic thrifters and TikTok influencers often debate the ethics of what many have called “thrift store gentrification.” Thrift store gentrification describes the phenomenon of affluent shoppers who voluntarily buy merchandise from second-hand clothing stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. When those same shoppers resell that merchandise on Depop or Poshmark at significantly higher prices, the prices at thrift stores then rise to meet the demand, or so popular TikTok videos claim. A store then becomes “gentrified” in the same way a neighborhood might, pushing out low-income buyers to make way for those with a surplus of cash. The discourse around this gentrification also broaches the topic of trendy or particularly good merchandise being bought up by such resellers, thereby denying the low-income communities stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army serve access to this merchandise. The resellers accused of contributing to thrift store gentrification are often called out for mislabeling thrifted children’s clothing as “vintage” to drive seller traffic, Vox reported.


In college student newspapers across the country, young essayists and reporters have tackled the knotty issue of thrift store gentrification in dozens of similar articles. “Resellers surging thrift stores for cool, trendy finds and buying in bulk are ultimately taking away from low-income communities in bulk,” writes Vanessa Delgado for the North Texas Daily. “Thrifting is not wrong but profiting off something that people need in order to maintain their standard of living is.” The debacle of where to buy clothes then is best summed up by a TikTok video from the user @curlie_fries, who rattles off her options in a breathless monologue. “What I’ve learned on TikTok is that I can’t shop at thrift stores because I contribute to the gentrification of thrift store prices,” she says. “But I also shouldn’t shop at fast places like Forever 21 because they use child labor sweat shops.” She can’t afford high fashion either, and can’t shop from Amazon because of Jeff Bezos, so what’s a girl to do?

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Complicated Reality of Thrift Store 'Gentrification' (Original post)
cinematicdiversions May 1 OP
Scrivener7 May 1 #1
Dial H For Hero May 1 #2
MineralMan May 1 #3
SWBTATTReg May 1 #6
stopdiggin May 1 #11
MineralMan May 1 #13
fishwax May 1 #18
Zambero May 1 #4
SWBTATTReg May 1 #5
MineralMan May 1 #10
zipplewrath May 1 #14
chowder66 May 1 #7
lapucelle May 1 #8
alphafemale May 1 #9
PortTack May 1 #12
Celerity May 1 #17
JI7 May 1 #21
BannonsLiver May 1 #15
Wednesdays May 1 #16
Hortensis May 1 #19
JI7 May 1 #20
JanMichael May 1 #22

Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:08 PM

1. Oh, Lord.

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Response to Scrivener7 (Reply #1)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:19 PM

2. My reaction as well. I used to hit thrift stores from time to time myself looking for collectibles

to resell on Ebay, until the opererators of stuch stores wised up and started checking themselves.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:22 PM

3. While that might be true in some places,

it is not true in the real thrift stores around here. Their prices for clothing in particular have not changed much at all. Yes, there are people in those stores looking for branded items they can resell. That has always been the case. However, others buy clothing still at very low prices for themselves.

I'll use Goodwill in Maplewood, MN as an example. Its used clothing for both men and women have pretty uniform prices, not based on labels or brands, but based on the type of garment. I shop that store for my own clothes, frankly, and I find plenty of genuine bargains on high quality clothing that is gently used.

Almost always, the branded clothing is priced the same as similar garments with lesser brand names. The store's goal is to use uniform pricing to keep items moving and selling.

That Goodwill, along with others in the area, use similar pricing strategies for pretty much everything. Dining room chairs are all $6.99, no matter what brand they are. That let me buy four matching Ethan Allan chairs for $28. Now, If I were a reseller, i could sell them for a good bit more than that. I also bought two very nice Windsor-style dining chairs with arms for $7.99 each. In an antique store, they would have sold for between $!50-200 each, given their well-known brand names. They are in my dining room, because that store uses uniform pricing. There are bargains to be found, or you can just buy some dining room chairs, all for the same price.

Frankly, most people who are shopping thrift stores for items to resell are not high-income folks at all. Instead, they are people trying to make a living by reselling such items. If they are lucky, they can make about $7.50-10 per hour doing that. Reselling used items is not a very lucrative way to make a living. I know, because I have done that, as well.

This story is poorly reported, and is basically not even factual. Tik-Tok is hardly a reliable source of news.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:25 PM

6. Well said. NT

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:53 PM

11. this any different (in an ethical sense)

than the people that have been churning yard sales and estate sales (with the quite obvious intent of re-sale) since grannie learned to drive? Re-sale became a bad thing when ... ?

I'm not going to jump all over this, but admit to being a little perplexed at some of the 'issues' we're bringing forth these days.
----- -----

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #11)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:15 PM

13. No, it's no different.

People buy and sell stuff in all sorts of ways. Mostly, they don't make a lot of money doing so. Check with a few antique store owners. Most are just barely eking out a living, despite the high prices in their shops.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Sat May 1, 2021, 05:28 PM

18. she actually makes that point (among others) in the article, which argues that the attitudes quoted

in the OP's quote of the article are misguided. The story is arguing against these oversimplified critiques of thrift store shopping, reselling, etc.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:22 PM

4. One more item for the guilt list

I'm thinking I should cut back on donations, lest some enterprising yuppie show up to buy stuff.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:24 PM

5. I think that this is an over simplified description of the issue, and blames one particular group in

keeping needed items from the poor...rich young white kids...accusing them of stealing when in fact, it's at the price that Salv. Army /others priced the merchandise at.

IMHO it's people who are running a perpetual garage sale/or sale at the local antique shop/mall and/or ebay that they have a booth in, thinking that they can make a quick buck, and you're always going to have this issue around (these people are scooping up various items and reselling them).

Also, these 'desirable' items are few and far between, so it's not like the shelves at Goodwill are overwhelming filled w/ these so called desired items, fancy shoes/tennis shoes, etc. I loved it when they used London of all places to quote prices, one of the most high priced cities in the world.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #5)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:40 PM

10. Yes. There are two kinds of "thrift" stores, really.

There are the trendy "thrift" stores that are full of overpriced clothing, priced based on brand names. Then, there are Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other thrift stores. The two could not be more different, in terms of prices and the brands you will find at them.

At Goodwill and the Salvation Army, you will find Target, Walmart, JC Penney, and other budget clothing brands. Occasionally, a recognized brand item might find its way onto the racks, but that's rare. I found a vintage Pendleton Black Watch plaid wool shirt in my local Goodwill. It dated back to the 1960s. It was hanging on a rack with all of the other long-sleeved shirts, all priced at 5.99 each. I know that almost all clothing at a Goodwill have been through a wash cycle or two, so I checked to make sure it was an XL size. I tried it on to double check, and bought it. It's hanging in my closet right now. Now, I do know what vintage Pendleton shirts in very good condition go for on eBay. I don't sell clothing on eBay, though. I wear it.

On any given day, it is possible to find genuine bargains at traditional thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Yes, there are people picking from the racks for resale, but there are plenty of good quality clothes handing on those racks for great low prices for people who need clothing to buy.

Again, people who shop thrift stores for things they can resell are not "rich yuppies." They are small-time entrepreneurs who earn very little from their thrifting, really. I see them in the thrift stores. They have good eyes, and spot quality right away. But, they aren't in the market for the decent, cheap clothing that is always on the racks for people to buy.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #5)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:29 PM

14. Some organizations do this themselves

It's been 20 years since I've been involved, but some organizations that run thrift shops, will cull off high value items, and sell them separately. Donations are always sorted out and handled by a variety of means. Some clothes aren't worth selling, and get sold off as rags (used to be to make newspaper). When we received high quality suits, that apparently had barely been worn, we had consignment shops that would handle them for us. Donations support the organizations in a variety of ways, and one of them is in raising money through the resale of donated items, and not only through the thrift store.

This really does sound like alot of concern about a really small issue.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:26 PM

7. My friend has had to shop at thrift stores because he has a horrible time finding sizes that

fit him. He's very tall and svelte. Most of the clothes that fit him were made in the 50's so he's always on the hunt for shirts and pants.

When he has found new clothes elsewhere the prices are nutzoid.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:27 PM

8. Is curlie_fries making and posting her virtue-signalling videos with an iPhone? N/T

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 02:35 PM

9. oh paw leeeze!

This is about the stupidest thing I have read in months.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:15 PM

12. Your average thrift store shopper is NOT looking for the same thing the ascribed upper middle class

Are looking for!

Most thrift store shoppers are looking for everyday stuff for their kids, the kitchen and themselves. They are hardly things that you can resell on eBay!

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Response to PortTack (Reply #12)

Sat May 1, 2021, 05:17 PM

17. +10000000000000000

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Response to PortTack (Reply #12)

Sat May 1, 2021, 05:55 PM

21. Especially for kids that grow. It's not worth it for them to spend money on things

that kids will outgrow in a year or even months later. Especially things they only need to wear once for certain occasions.

People with money just aren't doing this. This is such bs.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 03:51 PM

15. A great example of America's out of control grievance culture.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 05:07 PM

16. ..."pheusthefetus says in a video with over 90,000 views..."

Sheesh, some expert. If I got 90k views on one of my YouTube videos, I'd say it was doing poorly. Or does pheus have some other qualifications? Thought not.


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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 05:39 PM

19. My experience is that thrift stores and garage sales with the "good stuff"

are almost entirely in more affluent areas, and that's where people from all over mostly look for good stuff. For obvious reasons. Of course treasure hunters from everywhere go everywhere, and of course there is some movement of locally donated "good stuff" out of lower-income neighborhoods.

The biggest device I've seen to keep lower income people from shopping occurs in yard sales scheduled for weekdays. I don't know how widespread that is; in Florida with lots of retirees it's common. Lower-income jobs tend to be much less flexible work hours, and of course those working them aren't retired with even modest discretionary income.

Overall, though, a lot more good used stuff flows downscale. As someone with a budget always more "down" than my tastes, I've been going shopping used upscale for decades.

And overall, net losses and gains happen in all neighborhoods as people exercise their right to shop wherever they want. We need more of that. We do not need protective segregation of "our" and "their" areas.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 05:50 PM

20. This is just stupid and a non issue. Resellers are not wealthy types

At best they may br comfortably middle class and do this to make some extra money.

But people who are very well off aren't going to spend time in 2nd hand stores looking to resell.

The wealthy that resell are those that buy new things at regular stores and no longer want to wear or never even wore some of their purchases. These people have money and enjoy going shopping.

This article is just total bs.

Also many people without money go to places like ross, th max , Nordstrom rack etc . They can find new things for similar or even less.

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Response to cinematicdiversions (Original post)

Sat May 1, 2021, 06:00 PM

22. In 2003 I asked a junk (sorry "antique") store owner about the boxes & bubble wrap on the floor

He said they were for "surprise" boxes full of old things to be mailed; that people bought to then sell individually on Ebay or other site or trade.

The boxes went for $25 or $50. Boxes of junk.

I wonder sometimes if anyone that bought a $25 box ever made $26 after shipping and other taxes and fees?

Maybe I guess but I will never know. In 2021 I imagine the $25 boxes get re-sold for $1,678,020,871.99...



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