Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Question and An Answer

My South African friend wondered what a consignment store is.  I love questions like that because they reveal what I take for granted.  Although, Felicity, you may have them and just call them something else.

A consignment store sells used clothing and other items (like a thrift store) but the store splits the sale price with the person who brought in the item.  The one I'm referring to is a children's store that sells gently used clothing, toys, books, and bigger items (cribs, strollers, high chairs, etc.) at reasonable prices.  The best deals are usually on baby and dress-up clothes because they hardly get any wear and are often practically new, but I've bought a TON of stuff for my boys over the years. 

And as the boys outgrow things, I can sell them on account also.  I'm sure consignment stores have varying policies, but in general they'll accept a limited number of items each month per consigner, and the items must be clean, in good condition, and seasonal (no winter coats in summer).  They size them, organize them, price them, and display them, and when they sell we split the money.  Items are marked by the month they came in and each month the price is marked down, until after a certain amount of time what doesn't sell is donated to charity.  My consignment store will call if it's a big item, like a crib, to see if you want it back.  I tend to sell bigger items on Craigslist and only consign clothes and toys I don't care about getting back.  It's a great deal for budget-conscious families who aren't fixated on everything having to be new.

Make sense?

What about the rest of you?  I guess I assumed that this was common all over America.  Yes?  No?  Do you consign?  Do you buy used?  Do you thrift shop?

There are things I won't buy used - underwear (ewww), socks, and shoes especially.  But most other things are fair game.  We've found a lot of really nice things at Value Village and Goodwill.



Crystal in Lynden said...

I think we have the best thrift and consignment stores in our area. I'm so thankful for them and rarely step foot in a regular store to shop for kids clothes. Especially boys.

dlefler said...

We are SO lucky and have managed to get hand-me-downs for the boys' clothes. I have bins and bins of clothes all the way up to size 8 in the basement - can't beat free! I have the most clothes for Nolan, because he wears Matt's hand-me-downs and also his little friend's clothes (he's still in a 4T and most of his friends are in 5's or 6's). Matt has a few from a friend who has older boys. I love it!

sara said...

I have three boys from two through seven. So far most of their clothes have been handed down to us from cousins. We're just starting to have to buy some of their stuff now. It was nice while it lasted.

The dB family said...

We used to have a consignment store here, but I never used it because I didn't like how they priced. Clothes that weren't gently used, but had a brand name on them would still cost a lot of money.

Embarassingly, I will buy socks, shoes (not so much for the kids), and even underwear used. The underwear however must be brand new!! When you have nine hineys to clothe, you might change your mind ;o).


Felicity said...

I've never heard of shops like that here... We only get pawn shops and second hand shops that will buy your used goods (not clothing...)at an extremely LOW price and sell it for the most they can get.
Nowhere that I know of here buy old clothes - you have to give them away. I think the extreme poverty is one reason for that.
Hospice take clothes and goods as donations and sell it to bring in money for themselves.
Not even garage sales are big here - you do get car boot sales and jumble sales, but the poorer people kind of expect it to be given to them, so they've never really taken off too well. I would like to be able to get something for our old stuff. If it's in good condition you can sell it through the Junk Mail (a newspaper that is just classified ads). Even that has become dangerous though - people phone you and make an appointment to view whatever you're selling, and when they arrive and enter your house they hold you up and ransack your home!

Thanks for explaining, I now consider myself enlightened ;-)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh Felicity, that's scary! And probably a reason not to have a garage sale, either (people casing your house). I've heard of similar things happening with Craigslist, so a lot of people choose a neutral place to meet - like at a shopping mall, where there are lots of people around.

I like being able to get something for our stuff, knowing it's affordable for someone else, and being able to buy things for my boys - who don't care if it's used.

Deborah, I'm not sure I could handle the underwear, though! If it was still in a package? Sure.

The reason I don't buy shoes is that new shoes - to some degree - will form to the shape of the owner's foot, so a used shoe may not "feel" quite right. But maybe I'm too picky!