Thank you…it’s thrifted!

Thrifting is no longer casual – it’s a competition.


Aubrie Selsmeyer / Advance-Titan – According to research conducted by Gitnux, “The U.S. resale industry is estimated to have annual revenues of $17.5 billion, including antique stores.” Thrifting and reselling is not a new mainstream trend. People have been making a living out of it for years.

Aubrie Selsmeyer, Opinion Editor

Scavenging through someone else’s hand-me-downs may not appeal to everyone, but those who choose to take it seriously. 

The negative stigma that used to follow thrifting has taken a 180. 

I can’t count the number of times I have worked up the courage to ask someone where they bought a piece of clothing and they respond with, “Thank you…it’s thrifted.” 

I never knew how intense thrifting could get until I entered the realm of the Goodwill bins. 

It is far from the leisurely stroll through the meandering racks of clothing in a typical second-hand clothing store. 

It is a competition against hordes of well-dressed teenagers to see who can dig through piles of clothing the fastest. 

The bins – for those who aren’t as familiar – are fluorescent rooms with carts upon carts of unsorted clothing priced cheaply by the pound to save thrift stores the hassle of sorting it all. 

Nowadays, many people thrive reselling clothing from thrift stores. 

Resellers do the dirty work for those who aren’t as willing to give up their afternoons to play tug-o-war over a sweatshirt with bleach stains on it but are willing to pay for it. 

With the increase of thrifting follows the increase of gatekeeping. 

Gatekeeping is a term that refers to those who withhold information about certain things so that not every trend goes mainstream. 

Wikipedia defines gatekeeping as such: “A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something, for example via a city gate or bouncer, or more abstractly, controls who is granted access to a category or status.”

Entering the Goodwill bins feels like waiting in line for a club you aren’t old enough for with a lousy fake ID. There may as well be bouncers at the sliding doors by the shopping carts. 

Thrifting is no longer casual; it’s a competition. 

Spending an entire day in a stale room of unwashed clothing – directly off the back of someone, is deemed worth it for walking away with a single pair of cargo pants. 

And it’s not like thrifting is some breakthrough thing. It has been around for years, along with the bins. The hype has just seemed to ramp up in recent years. 

Welcome to the world of vintage. If something is faded just right you can label it vintage, even if it’s last year’s edition. 

It will never get easier to stomach paying absurd amounts for vintage knowing that the piece of clothing you have in your hand most likely costs a couple cents from a thrift store. But for fashion, we all do it. 

One student described the time she accidentally was at the bins when new carts got rolled out from the back. She recalled a loud buzzer and being corralled with a crowd of people behind tape on the floor. 

“I swear I am not making this up, but I’m pretty sure I heard a loud buzzer signal everyone they could go dig,” she said. “It was jam packed and everyone had to be behind a specific area marked with yellow tape until all of the bins were out.”

She said it was a race of shopping carts navigated by judgemental resellers competing for the same prize.

“The buzzer sounded and everyone took off,” she said. “I never knew how intense people got over this kind of thing. I also learned that before digging in the same bin as someone else, it’s thrifting etiquette to ask the person who was there first if you can accompany them.”

Many of these people have it down to a science. They will forage for hours and walk out with garbage bags bloated with clothing. 

Whether you are a casual thrifter or a competitive one, there’s bound to be something for everyone.