Mrs Williams

Thrifty Thursday – A cross-continental comparison!!!

on 31/05/2012


So, Lucy is after some blogs about Charity Shops for this weeks Thrifty Thursday effort. As previously mentioned, I’m pretty new to the Charity Shopping malarchy, but I am certainly enthusiastic. Mine and Matt’s Saturday afternoon wanderings through various New Forest villages used to centre around finding the best cream tea, but now it’s all about a good charity shop rummage!

However, whilst in the states (see previous post) I had the opportunity to go ‘Yard Sale-ing’ with my lovely sister-in-law Kari. We were also accompanied by Kari’s sister, aka Super-Mum…seriously, this woman has four kids of her own (one of whom is only 6 weeks old), plus fostering babies on a regular basis (we had a 6 month old foster baby with us as well as her four kids for this excursion) and she home-schools her adopted younger brother on a shared basis with Kari. And she does all of this without really breaking a sweat. Genuinely incredible.

ANYWAY, So yard sales are an American phenomenon that we don’t see here, I dont know if its a legal thing, or a dont-want-strangers-in-my-garage thing, but I’ve never seen it done in the UK. I guess our nearest equivalent is the trusty British car boot sale. Where we were, the whole neighbourhood had joined together so that around 30 houses all had sales on this day so we wandered for a couple of hours between different sales. These yard sales were awesome, there was tons of stuff and the prices were rock bottom! I got a ton of teeny tiny baby clothes for our soon-t0-be-born niece for $6, and Kari picked up a diaper genie for $3!! The kids all managed to get a new toy with their $3 yard sale allowance, and if I hadnt had a weight restriction on my suitcase for coming home we’d’ve come home with a ton of loot too!! It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the kids all seemed to stay pretty well entertained (partly because there was a woman visiting a lot of the same sales as us with a parrot on her shoulder…I never did get to the bottom of that one) so it was a fun trip.

However, it doesnt beat a charity shop, and I recognised that as we walked round but wanted to pinpoint why. I have three main reasons.

1) In a charity shop you’re not faced with the person who donated the goods!! So if something is hideous, you can point it out to your friend and have a good giggle about it without offending people! At a yard sale you’ve gotta keep your reactions in check because that cardigan with shoulder pads was what the house owner was wearing when she had her first kiss…or similar!!

2) British weather! So many weekends I’ve decided I’m gonna hit a car boot sale only to discover that when I wake up its pouring with rain and there’s not a chance I’m going to stand in a muddy field. Yard sales run this same risk and rely on decent weather. A charity shop works in all weather and is usually warmer than the average shop due to the age of the staff!!

3) And finally…and probably most importantly….I love that the money goes to charity. A £4 Monsoon cardigan feels like a double whammy of wonder when that £4 is going to help research into heart disease or to support starving children somewhere. I actually pay attention to the charities i’m giving money to, and try to actively visit some of the shops locally that support charities I believe in. Controversial or not, I’m more committed to people-charities than animal-charities (here, it seems I differ from much of the UK population as the RSPCA receive 3 times more in donations per year than the NSPCC…I have some issues with that) and am far more likely to offer a ‘keep the change’ in a charity shop than anywhere else. Somehow, despite still being utterly materialistic, shopping in a charity shop feels better, and for that reason, a yard sale just doesnt cut it!!

So I remain fiercely and faithfully committed to the good old British charity shop!! And plan to spend this bank holiday weekend feeding the obsession!


2 responses to “Thrifty Thursday – A cross-continental comparison!!!

  1. lulastic says:

    Amaaazing post. I am SO jealous of your yard sale experience. I dream of the American yard sale! Are you gonna actually link up? With the linky tool? xx

  2. […] lovely Mrs William’s has taken the WORLD as her  area of expertise in her deeply analytical comparison of UK vs America for second hand shopping.  I am massively jealous of her recent trip stateside as I dream of yard sales and estate […]

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