"Thrift stores are definitely becoming more mainstream, more accepted and even a source of pride."- Jenna Isaacson
by Nicole Poole
Jenna Isaacson has turned the recession into her playground, embarking on a cross-country trek to document America's consumption habits through what we give away. She is visiting thrift stores in the little rented RV she calls HaRVey. "We outfitted the RV with thrift store items-cups, plates, silverware, etc.-and most of what we're wearing are things we got at thrift stores," Isaacson said.
"I learned about thrifting from my 97-year-old grandpa Jack who lives in Milwaukee," Isaacson said in an interview with Thrift Store Confidential. "Going to a local thrift store was our bonding time together. Grandpa offered to buy me anything I wanted because he got a senior discount. I'll never forget walking into that store and seeing hundreds of donated roller skates. It blew my little 9-year-old mind that anyone would get rid of such awesome stuff! I was hooked.
"I think the biggest, compelling common denominator is that the selection in thrift stores in America shows that we not only consume a lot, but we're quick to throw things to the curb when it gets a stain, nick, ding or something loses a button. There's stuff in all of these stores that would horrify my grandpa's generation that we're getting rid of. Things that are still new or in perfect condition or things that can be easily cleaned, fixed or made usable again with only a small amount of effort. I want to show America that being thrifty also means using, being happy with what you have and protecting the environment by diverting items from landfills.
"I've learned that thrift stores are definitely becoming more mainstream, more accepted and even a source of pride, which is great to see. I think it took an economic downturn to get people to take a hard look at their consumption habits, and those that came into thrift stores when the economic climate forced them to have sort of stuck around to continue to get the kinds of bargains and great items they realized they could get there."