Monday, April 19, 2010

Save more does not mean buy more!

An unsolicited email from a major discount retailer appeared in my email in box and the re: line read “Fab Frugality” citing free shipping on women’s clothes.

What? Frugality and chain retailers are like vinegar and water!

No doubt the masses will blindly follow and think they are joining the new frugal movement. We’ve become a society that establishes personal identity by literally buying into a “movement”. Frugality, the new black!

The reality? It’s a sad, distorted marketing campaign; veiled consumerism. Frugality, by nature, completely goes against the basic tenets of consumerism. Don’t buy into marketed frugality!

I recently heard a car commercial daring the view to become an original and buy their car. Add to this that I probably watch two to three hours of network TV a week. We don’t even have cable. I’ve no idea what other nonsense is being brainwashed into the minds of the couch-bound, cable-watching consumer. Part of me is curious and the other part is afraid I’ll get so angry that I’ll spontaneously combust.

I once heard a radio show on Frugality talk about a half-off bookseller only to conclude that one could take the money they save and buy another book or go out to lunch! What? Consumerism loves that kind of thinking! Save more? Spend more!

Word up! When practicing frugality, money saved is just that – money saved! Not money spent because you saved. There’s a big difference in philosophy, practice and bank accounts.

Let’s do something simple. Let’s pull up frugality on
-economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful: a frugal manager.
-entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty: a frugal meal.

Now, think about it, does buying more because you saved money fit this description? Maybe some times but not all the time. And, I’d say that that small percentage of some times would apply to an item that is a necessity or will be bought in the near future.

Let’s go back to and look up original:
-arising or proceeding independently of anything else: an original view of history.
-capable of or given to thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner: an original thinker.
-created, undertaken, or presented for the first time: to give the original performance of a string quartet.

Is there anything original in buying a car based on a TV commercial?

Sheesh! I guess it won’t be long until chain retailers will attempt to entice us to literally buying into their notion of sustainable practices and buy their products.

Ugh! My head just fell into my hands in disgust. Not long after I wrote this, an email just came through from a chain-retailer engaged in supremely unsustainable practices attempting to market sustainable products!

I’m off to take my frustration out in my new raised bed vegetable garden built of re-purposed wood and hardware. I’m prepping the soil and pulling out the rocks. Good thing the rocks I need to be rid of are in my garden and not my head! The more I live, the more I believe that consumerism just dumps retail rocks in the heads of the innocent. Give your head a shake. If you sense there might be any rocks, pound your head like one does when they have water in their ears and get those rocks out.

If you're new to The Thrifty Chicks and agree with this post, you might have interest in an our Op Ed written for The Christian Science Monitor, We count calories. Why not carbon?


stylewylde said...

Great post, I've been really annoyed lately by all the 'green' labeling, and 'frugal' titles thrown around. Hopefully more people will start thinking before they buy, instead of just hopping on the lame marketing bandwagon

earthmama said...


kate said...

I loved your op ed! and I always enjoy your blog. I think I found you via apron thrift girl.
the hooligans

elena said...

i really liked this post. Your finds are always great. Do you ever sell what you find or you just donate it? How do you feel with the prefessional thrift store sellers? They get stuff away from real devotees like us... Please, I'd like the hear your opinion on this.

All the best !

Shopping Golightly said...


Good question.

Perhaps a post on this later.

No, I don't sell items. After use they are fed back into the thrift cycle.

I'm for reuse and re-purposing so I don't mind the E-Bayers.

However, I wish they would call their mark up a "finders fee" like personal shoppers for people who don't have the eye for finding treasure or time.

I think such an approach would help educate the masses. I honestly think that some people buy vintage not *really* understanding that it's used. They just think it's old.

Retail is a strange business. Think about all the new stores that are selling vintage-looking clothing that's fresh off the boat from China. Now think about the PRICES these stores charge for new-old clothes and people buy it!

Btrflygl said...

Ha! I have noticed this marketing trend as well. Even with companies that boast "green" products, when you are asking me to shell out a lot of money + shipping and handling as's just a business like any other trying to make a lot of $$$$.

Anonymous said...

The morning shows were promoting Earth Day today with earth friendly clothing--some from expensive designers!
NO mention of recycling or thrifting clothing whatsoever....
Once again, you are right on the mark.
Thank you!

Shopping Golightly said...


Sad isn't it? Not certain if there is not one commemorative day or holiday that retail doesn't exploit for it's own coffers.

elena said...

thank you for your response! It makes a lot of sense and it's true, the "fake vintage" phenomenon is puzzling to say the least!

Serena said...

In response to Anon's comment regarding Earth Day - of course, the morning shows are not going to mention recycling and shopping at thrift stores! How do you think they make their money? From the big brand name advertisers, of course!

This is the problem with our media. They really can't be that objective because they are being paid by the big corporations.