Where to spend your time and money

Here’s the million dollar  question:  Is it smarter to shop Consignment or Thrift?   Well, I personally think  that depends on another question:   Of which do you have the most – – Time or Money?

 I won’t lie – I OWN a consignment / resale shop so I’ll lean a little toward that column.  That being said, I have and still do occasionally shop both!  And there are powerful arguments for both shopping venues depending on your specific lifestyle.  Let’s examine. 


Thrift Stores are typically chocked full of pieces that have been donated from the local community – folks who “just want to get rid of it.”  That’s not necessarily a negative thing – it provides more volume to shop for sure!  But most thrift store models don’t have a quality control policy at the point of intake.  Naturally, this does tend to lower the quality spectrum.  You’ll get a lot of discount store pieces hanging right next to a Banana Republic garment.   Thrift Stores typically accept just about anything presented to them – flawed items are no exception.  This often burdens the shopper with the added task of inspecting each desired piece thoroughly to make sure it’s worth the investment.  There is a silver lining here:  the price point at thrift stores is often a little lower. You can amass a bulging buggy-full of bargains for just a few bucks.  As I said earlier, the thrift store’s inventory is donated and comes from literally all walks of life.  The sheer volume of pieces large and small can be daunting to even begin looking through!  That can be both positive and negative, depending on your perspective – and your OCD level.  So here’s the rub – is the little bit lower price worth the added time and labor invested in the shopping experience?  Quite frankly, that depends totally on the shopper.  It’s not always about the price.  Some enjoy the thrill of the hunt, finding themselves elbow-deep in dollar options is a type of euphoria.  They are what some might call “thrifting junkies”.  And if you’re one of those folks, then I’m sure your eyes will glaze over when you walk in your favorite thrift store.  For you, it’s hours and hours of digging delight.  Run that aisle.  Shove that bail.  Pack that bag.  And enjoy every minute of it.  But know this, there is another resale route.  And if time is your enemy, she may be your new best friend.


Now let’s examine our other resale option.  Most “Resale” shops consist of either consignment or BOR (buy out right) programs or a combination of both.  Here’s where your quality control (for lack of a better word) comes in.  Resale shops are going to choose carefully from their suppliers, what sells well for them in their market.  Rather than accept everything that’s dropped on their doorstep (or back loading dock) they methodically accept what their own sales history has shown to be successful.  This, in turn, will pad their inventory with higher quality and more consistent pieces.  You’ll find fewer (if any) flawed pieces and most likely, many of the brands and styles that are current and trending in the market.  Here’s where you will most likely see a consistent supply of styles that are less than 2-3 years old and colors and fabrics that are coveted by today’s fashionistas. Labels like Gucci, Lily Pulitzer, Louis Vuitton and Anthropologie are much more likely to be found in this shopping venue than in your average thrift store.  Is there a trade-off for this more pleasing, time-saving shopping experience?  Probably.  Resale shops have an actual monetary investment in their inventory (whether it be the purchase price or the consignment pay-out).  Naturally, this investment is reflected in their price point.  So while the shopper may spend a bit more, they could potentially save loads of time and actual labor in the shopping experience. And let’s face it.  With most resale shops pricing at somewhere around a third of retail for their initial asking price, the consumer will still save countless dollars shopping consignment/BOR.

So maybe it does boil down to one question:  Of which do you have the most?  Time or Money?  For some that IS the real question.  They’re looking to save on their lifestyle purchases while balancing their savings desires with a limited amount of time – in said lifestyle.   Whew!  It’s enough to make a bargain babe’s head spin!  I mean, let’s face it.  You’re busy – – really, really busy!  You may or may not have time to spend hours and hours digging through the endless thrifty choices at the local bargain shop.  If you do, Rock On my thrifty friend!  Yank that Prada from within the mounds of dime store drop-offs and hold it high in victory!  If not, your local consignment/resale shop may be the answer to your money-saving desires or your resale habit.  In the thrifting world, both options offer staggering savings!  Shop either (or both) with pride!  Strut your stuff in those Christian Louboutin heels and throw that Kate Spade over your shoulder with a little added sass.  Either way, compared to retail, you’re still going to walk out with some cash in your wallet.  And whether it took you 3 hours or 3 minutes to find it, that, my friend, is a WIN!

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