Life in TucsonSelf-Reflection

Goodwill and Secondhand Stuff

Several days ago, I went to stroll around the town with a friend. Actually, she’s been asking me to hang out several times but either our schedule didn’t match, or I simply couldn’t make it. That day I decided to okay her invitation because I didn’t want her to think that I didn’t want to go out with her. Don’t get me wrong. I like her and love going out with her. Besides, I feel okay to say anything I want since she talks a lot. Haha But you know, I’m not really a social person. I’m a homebody and love to enjoy myself at home. I love traveling but that’s when I’m free. With my current situation, all the papers, the readings, etc., I don’t think I’ll have fun traveling because I’ll keep on thinking bout my responsibilities and it’s not going to be fun. It’s okay; I’ll travel hard this summer 😀

But anyway, I’m not going to talk about my friend. It’s just that when we’re strolling around, we happened to pass by Goodwill at the 4th Ave. Well, if you don’t know Goodwill, it’s a secondhand thrift store. From what I know, it receives donation from people, like secondhand stuff such as clothes, bags, shoes, etc. Then they sell them with low prices and use the money to pay the employees and help the unfortunate (through charity?). Well, in short, though they also sell new stuff, most of the products are used stuff or secondhand, most of which are in a good condition.

The front part of my new (secondhand) bag that I got from Goodwill.

Thus, I asked her if it’s okay to stopped by Goodwill. We didn’t really go anywhere anyway so I guess it’s okay. It was actually impulsive and unplanned, a kind of abrupt. My handbag that I usually brought to my classes was worn out and I had been searching for a new handbag online. I was trying to get one that was multifunctional, something that I could use as not only a handbag but also a backpack. A bag that also has more than one pocket and has a pocket for my bottle. But I hadn’t found the one I really wanted to buy. It’s either too expensive for me or the design/model/color was just not beautiful in my eyes.

I didn’t initially think of trying to find one in Goodwill and so I didn’t plan to go there at all. It just so happened that it was in our path when strolling around and going to downtown. And I thought, why not? I’ve bought some stuff there before. It’s cheap. And the Goodwill at 4th Ave gives 20% discount to students. Well, I had my Student ID with so shall I decide to buy something, I’d get the discount.

Hence, we went in and I directly went to see the bags in display. Actually, I didn’t intend to buy anything 🙊🙈😅✌ I just wanted to sightsee – a kind of window-shopping. But then I saw this bag and fell instantly in love with it. I love the color and the design. It has a lot of pockets. And it has pockets in which I can put my bottle and pencil/pen outside for easy access. It’s big but looks small. It looks strong, too. It’s simple. It’s accommodating. I can put different things at different pockets and get them easily. Then, the next thing that I checked was of course the price 😁 It was $6.99. (When I browsed online, the prices were always above $15 and $20. Man, aside from my traveling backpack and suitcases, I’ve never bought a bag that expensive and I don’t really want to). Thus, I was definitely okay with the price. I didn’t immediately check out of course. I continued to see other bags, thinking and battling whether I should buy it or not, or if I should just get a new one. My friend said that the bag was not as clean; there was a little stain in it, which I actually didn’t mind; it’s not that noticeable anyway. Well, you know, it’s hard to steal my heart once it’s taken. And this bag has it taken. But what made me doubtful was only the fact that I couldn’t wear it as a backpack, while I’d been searching one that was dual-functional. But, well, finally I decided to buy it. It’s cheap. It serves the purpose. It’s beautiful, too. That it can function as a backpack is not my priority anyway. Thus, I bought the bag – and of course I didn’t regret it 😀 I got it for $5.59 after the student discount 🙈😍✌ And I really really really love it; it’s even better than my previous bag ❤

The back part of my new bag. In addition to the side pockets, it has three different main pockets, by the way, though it doesn’t really show here.

And by the way, the reason why I’m writing it here…hmm, I don’t know. I wonder how others feel about buying secondhand stuff like that. I myself have been used to it since I was a child. Instead of buying me new clothes in the store or in the market, my Mom usually bought me secondhand clothes that still looked good for me – and my sister. Maybe because my Mom did not have much money. And mostly, I wore clothes that people gave to us, from my aunts, from my neighbor, from my Dad’s boss, etc. Sometimes they were new, but most often they were secondhand. I didn’t know how I felt as a kid back then. Maybe I was happy because no matter what it would always be new to me since it meant I had “new stuff”. But, well, maybe sometimes I also wished for more real new clothes. I understand. But if I look back, I don’t regret it. In fact, I am thankful. My Mom taught me the value of the things based on the function, not the price or brand. She often says, “Why would you spend this much money for this if you can get it cheaper? It doesn’t have to be new. It doesn’t have to be “branded”.” And, well, she’s right. Maybe that’s why I don’t really know “brands” now. I found out that Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc. are expensive brands just recently, and sometimes through the movies. Skechers, Nike, Adidas, etc. too. I’ve never had those though now I have a Nike and I love Skechers, but mostly I get them from Ross, which is usually cheaper. When I get something branded, it’s usually for its durability. I have Swatch and Alexander Christie for my watch. I know they’re not the very top brands, but it’s the price I can afford and it’s pretty durable, so I don’t have to change it or get new watches too often. I wonder if that’s also what people think when buying branded stuff with expensive prices. But, yeah, if they buy such products only to impress others, well, I am not really impressed; they don’t mean a thing to me. Yeah, you can afford it, so what?

Another handbag that I bought from Goodwill back then. The key chains are not included of course. It’s a present from a friend. And the one with Wayang/Shadow Puppet Figure, I bought it myself. It’s one kind of Indonesian souvenirs.

Well, in short, I’m okay with secondhand stuff. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of it. I don’t steal it anyway. I’m actually happy – and maybe a little bit proud – that I can get good stuff with low prices. I got one of my coats in Goodwill, too. I found it in Kid Section since I couldn’t really find the one that fit my size in the grown-up section 🙈😅 And guess what? People love it. They didn’t need to know where I got it; but I don’t want them to think that it’s expensive so usually I would just tell them that I got it in Goodwill, and that it’s secondhand. I also got two other handbags from Goodwill before. I put the picture of one here; the other is at home with my sister. She seems to love so I left it with her.

Anyway, my only concern about buying it in Goodwill is that…well, I know Goodwill is intended for the less unfortunate or the poor. I don’t think I’m that poor, though I’m not that rich either. I can afford more expensive stuff if I want to, though I choose not to because I want to save for other stuff. So I’m not sure if I’m doing the wrong thing by buying things from Goodwill. I mean, maybe I shouldn’t because if I bought it then the poor won’t be able to buy it. But, I don’t know. It’s kinda dilemmatic. I try to myself better by justifying my action and telling myself that it’s okay and even good to buy it from Goodwill. That way I’m actually helping them, right? That way they’ll earn the money to pay the employees and help the poor. If nobody makes a purchase, they won’t get any money, right? So, I don’t think buying in Goodwill is a wrong thing. I don’t know. What do you think?

Well, anyway, I’m happy with my new (secondhand) bag. $5.59. It’s the price I pay for In-n-Out’s cheese burger and milkshake plus $0.16. So yeah, it’s cheap. Remember how I think of cheap and expensive, right? Food is the standard measurement. In Indonesia, $5.59 is still expensive for me because with the same amount of money I can get decent meals at least three times. Well, not from fancy or expensive restaurant of course since there are a lot of other food stalls. Here $5.59 can’t really get me a one-time decent meal, so well, if I can buy a good bag with such a price, then it’s cheap ^^ What about you? What do you use to determine whether something is cheap or expensive? O.o

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