Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Am I a blog snob?

January 12th's post, “Am I just a bottom feeder of conspicuous consumption?” was a response to a comment from the post, “Myth-stakes”, which sprung from a comment from “Americans are screaming the need for a bigger reuse market. Why is there no answer?” Phew!

These comment threads are filled with an assortment of opinions that sprouted a lively dialog. It seems something has been tapped; a nerve, a fresh perspective, an unwillingness, an “Aha!” or simple annoyance. Let’s ride this a bit more and see where it goes. Either way, it grew conversation and got people thinking.

Now the question seems to be, am I a blog snob? To some degree, everyone who blogs is, as they share their opinion, is subjective and isn't (obviously in many cases) being subjected to being true. Nonetheless, there is a divergence of opinion on blogging. As for the description “holier than thou”, I’ve been called much worse. Surviving middle school gave me some thick skin. Tossing my opinions and stories on the Internet made it even thicker.

Blog etiquette is as diverse as the blogging world. There are best selling authors and media professionals writing blogs along with people like me who feel like they’ve found a good cause and/or a creative outlet. That explains my typos, etc when I mistakenly click the "Publish Post" button which is powerfully placed - less than a half a centimeter - from the "Save Now" button.

As for the two-year life of The Thrifty Chicks, I recall removing a just few comments, most were spam, one profane, a few trying to peddle sex somewhere in Asia. Sad, no? Comments on this site are rarely taken personally. They test convictions and invite reflection. Thoughtful criticism intended to evoke dialog is certainly encouraged. I do ask for clarity of content in comments – two or three adjectives doesn’t exactly back a point.

I think America needs a stronger reuse market for many reasons. Instead of listing them again, I’ll reference two opinions that ran in The Christian Science Monitor; “Green shopping, don’t say ‘eww’ to thrift stores”, and "We count calories. Why not carbon?” The first ran on Dr. Suess’ birthday, hence the reference to The Lorax.

I also think many people are very uncomfortable about expanding an American reuse market mainly because it presents a new/old way of managing our lives.

Many of today's Americans have a knee-jerk reaction to thrift, thinking the stores are infested with body lice and fungicide is sprayed on tattered clothing. This is sad because it really wasn’t that long ago that Americans thought product reuse and repurposing a common sense way of life – the days were the focus was on economic solvency, not accruing more debt. A parable to this is the post “Six Baccarat tumblers” about my great grandmother.

The conventional retail market probably doesn’t like it because it would translate to a radical shift in American shopping. Eventually, retailers would find a manner to profit from this emerging market. Good grief! Look what they did to credit default swaps!

If manufacturers can profit off Chia Pets, surely they can profit off used items like cowboy boots. I recently read that we would be better served putting Chia seeds into our mouths rather smearing them on a pottery figurine. Apparently those little seeds are very nutritious. As for cowboy boots, ever put on a new pair? Ouch! It’s like having braces on your legs. Best to let someone else put in the pain of breaking them in. Two honest and old cowboys had a good laugh at me in a tack shop Alamosa, CO when I tried a new pair of new boots. I can still see them sitting back in their chairs laughing as I screamed a few explicatives on how those boots felt on my legs and teasing them that they must have maimed many a legs selling such braces without a medical license. When they finally caught a breath, they told me about an old hide out of Billy the Kidd that I happened to be camped near. I think they were pulling my leg. But, it’s more fun to believe the story so I shall.

So, am I a blog snob? Is my message “holier-than-thou”? After sitting on my soapbox and thinking for a spell, I must say, no. I don’t believe so. I think I’m a person who has found a cause worthy of advocating. I’m passionate about it but certainly don’t think that those who disagree are damned. I'd be foolish to think there are not people who taken exception to what I write or how I write it. As long as people keep dialoging and thinking about more reuse, I'm cool.

Seeing consumer waste makes me sad. Really sad. When I watch the natural world in motion, I am in awe it's eloquent system. I believe dead-end waste is one of man’s worst inventions and we keep finding new ways to invent it in different forms. This disturbs me as I think about our legacy on this planet and I am but a mere drop in the bucket of humanity. Reuse is certainly one way to slow down the waste stream.
Before I became a mother, I worked fundraising at one our nations leading zoo’s; was an Assistant Director at a summer camp and took our girls on overnight hiking and canoe trips; and worked in The Office of Environmental Affairs for the City of Boulder. However, I also worked in the investment industry for a major investment company as a planning analyst on business relocations. I’ve experienced both sides.

We are not perfect beings. Even in our quests to do what we think is best for our families, communities, and our country we aren’t always right and even good ideas have down sides.

My style of writing might appear to be "hoity" to some. But consider that I'm having to sway opinions about reuse and I attempt it with a dash of humor and - as my family's matriarch says - a few good "someone's gotta say it's". But hey, I've also been labeled insightful, and pithy.

When you are advocating for the underdog, whether it's a just cause or not, many adjectives are thrown your way. Though I do find it amusing to be cited "hoity" when I'm the one digging through the gray bins of thrift and trolling the urban alley's for treasure. One thing I know I try to be is thought provoking. Sure, I mix in the "look what I found's" in to provide eye candy and lead people into thrift temptation.

One thing I know to be true, we are capable of change. There was a time when the great whaling captains of Nantucket scoffed at the idea that the world would turn it’s back whale oil and a rock that burns would crash their market.

19 comments:

Leslie said...

Keep advocating! I was so delighted to stumble upon your blog. I had found a "kindred spirit". Growing up, my Dad and I haunted the thrift stores of New Orleans and made a kind of scavenger hunt out of it. He was a teacher, and was regularly voted "snappiest dresser". Only we knew that his snappy clothes came from Salvation Army.
As an adult, and a minister, I dressed myself and my children stylishly and well from thrift stores. Our home is lovingly and happily decorated by thrift store "gold", the happy finds that have another life, stories to tell, a wondrous patina. I ahve always found great joy in 'the hunt', but I also have strong beliefs about keeping things out of the waste stream.
My son is now in High School---that label-conscious morass of adolescence. He is very proud of always being right up-to-date, but dressed not from the mall but from the thrift stores. He thinks it is funny that the clothes his friends bust the budget on are the same ones he gets on half-price day at our local thrift stores. It is our happy private joke.
I believe it is important to vote with one's wallet, and I will continue to find joy in doing so. For me, it is a matter of having my espoused values line up with my obvious choices and there is happiness there. The fact that I am living very abundantly through such choices is just gravy!
Keep on doing what you're doing!

Shopping Golightly said...

Oh! Thrifting in NOLA! I'm having glorious visions! Mr. Golgihtly and I honeymooned there in '95.

Serena said...

Keep up the great work. You are certainly one of my favorite bloggers. I agree that you have strong opinions, but you are not "holier than thou," as some have claimed. Yes, there is a difference between being opinionated and self-righteous. People seem to equate the two.
Now, in all honesty, I am not a big thrift store shopper myself. (I'm not much of a shopper to begin with). But I do explore my local thrifts and find treasures here and there every once in awhile. It is a treasure hunt, and you do need to make time for it, something which I tend to be short on.

Shopping Golightly said...

Serena,

I'm honored. Truly. You make an interesting point. You are right, I'm never short on opinions! As my grandmother says, "Well, someone's gotta be!" And as my grandfather says, "I get that honest." [Wink & Smile]

Dayhomemama said...

Well Amen and Halleluja, I love that post and you said it better than I've ever heard it before.

Jennifer said...

I think than when the content of a blog post sits right with a person, seems logic or even normal, the tone of the post also seems on the spot. But possibly, when the content is disturbing, goes against what a person feels or believes, the tone in the written word is perceived as being more of a lecture, or as said, "holier than though". But you're absolutely right to express your desire for discussion and reflexion.
The luck we have over here in France is that we still have a generation of people who suffered from poverty and they still won't throw out dried bread. So, your words ring so very true and logic. People have GOT to wake up!

Anonymous said...

Thrifts are an important part of how I manage my 'wants' vs. my 'needs.' Sometimes it can take ages for the item to show up. Oftentimes, the 'want' has disappeared and I'll pass on the purchase. And then there's kismet. Like yesteday. I was on a quick walk-through on my way to an appointment and saw an iron out of place. Sitting tail-end-first on the shelf and out of place among the tchotchkes, I had quite an internal dialogue going on whether or not to explore it further. I couldn't read the brand without either picking it up or pulling out my reading glasses. I wasn't feeling up or lucky in the least. I finally picked it up just so I could stop the debate. And there it was. The long-sought German-manufactured Rowenta of my dreams in spanking new shape. For $4.99. At the check out, a woman commented on how difficult it was to find an iron with any heft...and then she lifted mine. Just like Goldilocks, she said, "Oh my, this is just right!" And it is.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for more than a year and you've never struck me as "holier than thou." I think that it's hard for people not to feel stupid for buying things new when they could have gotten a used item just as good, if not better, for a fraction of the price. They feel sheepish and dumb so that translates, for them,near as I can tell, to you somehow having acted "holier than thou."

Harper said...

I'm a seventeen year old girl living in the DC Area. I live in one of the most affluent counties in the entire country. My community is almost Stepford-Wives about retail-- It's projected as this symbol of all that is good in the world. Kids who don't have a Wii or Kinect are considered deprived.

I adore your blog and I'm getting more kids my age interested in Thrift. And I love it. I think it's important to try to target the younger generation too.

I saw a quote I liked very much recently because it made me think about the way people view our time on the planet.

"The earth was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children."

Keep on doing what you do :)

Shopping Golightly said...

Harper,

Thank you! You inspire me! I'm so glad to know you're not caught up in the mess. Marketers fight like mad to "develop" a teen's spending pattern into one of impulse and entitlement and - as I'm sure you're aware - they do a bang-up job. As a parent of two young girls, it sickens me that lenders are constantly hitting up my daughters in the mail for credit cards! Shop thrift, live a rich life and be one of the first of your friends to be totally self-sufficient and proud. Kudos to you!

CarrieP said...

Hi Ms. Shopping Golightly,
You've definitely inspired me. And who wants to read a bland blog? I consider myself thrifty, but seeing your purchases and reading through the archives has re-inpsired me. I showed my older (fashion conscious) daughter many of your pictures and then took her to Goodwill. It was a great day. Keep on blogging! I look for new posts frequently.

Joy said...

Thank you for the rich, connective quality of your well written thoughts. I enjoyed "traveling back" to the post about the six baccarat glasses. Oh! To have seen them would have been glorious (and what I immediately wished for!)

Shopping Golightly said...

Joy,

Thank you for the kind words. I have those 100-year-old Baccarat tumblers in my home. I've forgone champagne glasses and use them instead. Since each is different it's fun to look at each. I try to relive the feeling my grandmother felt, each time she'd saved enough to purchase one more.

Susan said...

I Love your blog,and I've shared it with friends and family. I totally agree with what your advocating. I'm trying to escape the consumer driven lifestyle,and live more thrifty. I grew up on yardsale finds,and enjoyed some wonderful pieces. Now I'm just trying to get rid of most of the stuff I have that I dont need,so I can concentrate and living thrifty. Thank you for showing me ways I can do that.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog very much, but have on occasion cringed at some of your writing. Your tendency to sprinkle occasional acidic remarks on your otherwise enjoyable and informative blog just shows you are human and with a bias like most of us. Keep up the good work - and keep focusing on using honey rather than vinegar :-)

Sharon said...

I find your writing very interesting and thought-provoking. Your passion against materialism/consumerism is refreshing amidst this NA culture. Keep "speaking" (writing)! :)

Nicole Poole said...

I've been saving this blog to read when I have leisure time. Don't tell anybody, but tonight's that night. I'm rollicking around in here like a puppy in a pile of leaves, and I can't thank you ladies enough for the hard work you do. I've been doing a similar thing for a while, and the instant camaraderie I feel with you is priceless. Love your vibe, love your intelligence, love your finds, love your philosophy. I look forward so much to reading everything I can get my hands on. Awfully inspiring for a fellow "bottom-feeder." You ladies rock.

Avrila said...

Regarding Chia Pets: I have a Chia Cat packed away somewhere...after I ran out of seeds, I used it to sprout broccoli seeds and picked them off to snack on. More sensible than sending off more money for a tiny packet of replacement seeds, I thought.

Picking up Women said...

Surviving middle school gave me some thick skin. Tossing my opinions and stories on the Internet made it even thicker.