In light of a poor economy, Americans are changing the way they shop, and it’s helping the environment.
The sociological article “For Fun and Profit” by Gretchen M. Herrmann and Stephen M. Soiffer explores the cultural phenomenon of garage sales in American life, citing garage sales as an alternative form of consumerism. According to Herrmann and Soiffer, Americans choose to shop at garage sales to maintain social standing and as a way to continue to enjoy the shopping experience during an economic downturn.
“The rapid expansion of the garage sale is linked to longterm decline in the spending power of most of the American populace. Not coincidentally, this decline in disposable income is coterminous with the development of alternatives to the most conspicuous forms of consumerism.” – For Fun and Profit
There is also evidence that Americans are doing more of their shopping at thrift stores. According to Goodwill’s annual report, their total sales during the 2010-2011 year were around 46 million. In comparison, sales during the 2011-2012 year amounted to just under 51 million.
This year’s report also highlights the environmental impact of thrift stores, stating that “over 73,000,000 pounds of goods donated to Goodwill Denver were either recycled or repurposed to keep those materials from ending up in landfills.”
Thrift stores received another positive shout-out in 2012 thanks to Seattle-based rapper Macklemore. Macklemore’s song “Thrift Shop” was released in late August of 2012 and has seen immense popularity, despite originating from an independent label. It reached number 1 on Australia’s popular music charts.
Macklemore’s song’s (somewhat silly) lyrics tout the fashion benefits of buying clothes cheaply from a thrift store, and calls mainstream fashion, “getting tricked by business” and spending $50 on a new t-shirt the equivalent to being “swindled.”
Macklemore’s thrifty lyrics are in refreshingly stark contrast with those of other popular contemporary hip-hop artists.
For example, another popular song of 2012, “Work Hard Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa, expresses the artists’ desire for diamonds, gold watches, gold chains and “hundred-dollar champagne.”
In comparison, Macklemore’s song pokes fun at over-consumption and frivolous spending, and it does it to a really catchy beat.
Below is a clean edit of the song courtesy of YouTube user thesongcleaner. We like to keep it clean here on GreenJoyment, but feel free to check out the official music video.