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Day 284: Are thrift store patrons more prone to criminal activity?


I got a hot tip that something smells fishy here in my hometown.

This week, a controversial article came out in the local free weekly about how people in a higher-income neighbourhood are upset that a large used clothing store will be opening there.

Notable quotes:

“Do I need to fear for my children’s safety and my property with the types of people this store is going to bring into our neighbourhoods?"

“You build a place that sells old used clothes and whatnots, you’re going to get a lot of people with lower incomes coming around here. It’s no secret that people with lower incomes have a tendency to have a higher crime rate.”

"’s going to bring these people to the neighbourhood. Who’s to say they’re not going to come back later for reasons other than shopping?”

"How many people on my block do you think wear used clothes? Um, how about none.”

I find it helps to imagine all of these lines being spoken by Cinderella's step-monster.

Anyway, there are a number of obviously incorrect things about these richypants' complaints. Here are three of them:

1) In my experience, used clothing stores are used mostly by students, hipsters, and frugalistas who like good deals. Also? THRIFT SHOPPING IS AWESOME!

2) The thought of a new used clothing store in a richypants part of town will attract frugalistas like me - I bet the stuff they get donated will be GREAT! So the people flocking down there will be the frugally fabulous, not the "criminal element"

3) What is the difference between affordable used clothing and affordable household goods? By which I mean, are the clientele of Wal-Mart and used clothing stores that different?


Note: My Year Without Spending has a regular series called Thrifty Threads, featuring readers modelling their fabulous thrift-store outfits, and Penny Chic shows some amazing, fashion-forward looks using entirely clothes from Wal-Mart

At first I was annoyed that this is even a discussion (is it 50 years ago? Doesn't everybody know that thrift stores are AMAZEBALLS?),  then I found it heartening how many funny/wise comments were posted about the article, and now I'm working out how to do an INVESTIGATIVE REPORT. Here's the plan:

I will go to both a used clothing store and Wal-Mart and keep my eye out for criminal activity. (For the purposes of this investigative report, "criminal activity" is defined as: people with eye-masks and striped shirts tip-toeing around with bags with dollar signs on them). I can also keep my eyes out for crimes of fashion (defined as: people wearing clothes that are too small, too large, or in any way unflattering) and see which place has more "crime."

For instance, the Beagle Boys here are committing both crimes of fashion and crimes of crime. Whereas Magica de Spell is just fabulous. And kind of an awesome Halloween costume option... hmm... 

I don't know. It's never occurred to me that thrift store clientele are any different from other stores - except that thrift store people are more savvy, stylish and enjoy the "thrill of the hunt." What do you guys think? Is this ridiculous, or what?


Niki said...

Wow! I am really surprised by that type of reaction too. That attitude is very sad.

Michelle P said...

I agree, I think that's very ridiculous.

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