real solutions: part 2, second hand it

Click here to see the first post in the series.

Last Sunday, I suggested that the first step to successfully undertaking the fair trade lifestyle is to reassess your life as a consumer and consider buying less altogether.

The next best option: Get your stuff second hand.

And now I present to you a true story with a clear moral: 

jeans shopping

Once upon a time (but not so long ago), a young woman ventured out into worlds both real and virtual to find the ideal pair of jeans.

First, she tried the American Apparel Easy Jean, but they were $72.00 (far outside her monetary comfort zone) and didn’t fit well, so she returned them.

Then, she journeyed over to her local Urban Outfitters to try their High Rise Cigarette Jeans. She waited until they went on sale for $39.00. Even that price was a stretch, but they fit so she bought them.

Two days later, the side seam ripped at the hip. The woman, distraught, returned them to the store.

But she remained jeans-less. She went back. She bought a different pair. She wore them as often as was socially acceptable.

The climate turned. Winter arrived. With the long, cold days stretching ever ahead of her, she knew that one good pair of jeans simply wouldn’t cut it any longer. By now, she had committed herself to buying only second hand or ethically produced garments.

She bought the American Apparel Easy Jean in a larger size on ebay. They arrived damaged and stretched by the previous owner! She returned them.

She bought a pair of jeans from ModCloth (made in the USA) that broke within three wears. She returned them.

She bought the American Apparel Easy Jean again, direct from the store, in a smaller size and on sale ($50.00). They were too small. She returned them.

She went back to Urban Outfitters. But this time her conscience stood in the way. She couldn’t buy new garments that were produced overseas without clear and ethical factory standards.

Suddenly, a brilliant thought came to mind! She would find a used pair on ebay! And she did. She found two pairs. She twirled around in happiness. And they cost $25.00 less than a single pair of Easy Jeans on sale. And they were less than half the price of buying new.

And she saved, in more ways than one.

She learned that buying second hand is the most effective way to cut costs and contribute to a better future. She can find satisfaction in a good pair of jeans that do not further contribute to poor labor standards or trash build-up or debt.

And, at last, she can stay warm, look cool, and feel good.


The other moral of this story is that jeans that cost a lot of money aren’t necessarily better quality.

* photo source

About Leah

Leah Wise is a member of FIRE in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This entry was posted in Essays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to real solutions: part 2, second hand it

  1. Megan says:

    “The other moral of this story is that jeans that cost a lot of money aren’t necessarily better quality.” I think this could be said of almost anything… a lot of people equate expensive with better, but it’s not always true! Secondhand for life 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s