Unexpected Thrills of Shopping Seconhand
This week I bought a budgie cage from Gumtree for Posy's birthday. From a man who is quite the jolly vendor.
Turns out, I could have bought one for exactly the same price at the pet shop. So, life lesson for this week: it pays to research before buying secondhand. However, I prevented one more budgie cage from being manufactured or sent to landfill, and I got to meet John the comic, which was more fun than going to Pet Barn. Also, on the way home I visited an op shop in a part of town I never get to. Often, op shops seem a tad overpriced to me, but this one is brilliant. Everything is very reasonably priced, and I found such treasure (for Launceston locals, it was the Mission shop in Prospect. Give them time to restock after I cleaned them out).
First, a plaid wool blanket ($4) to keep me warm while reading on my bed. I washed this on the wool cycle in my front loader this week, and dried it on the line. It smells of lavender oil and sunshine now, and is doing sterling service encouraging me to be idle:)
Cheerful pure cotton sheets for Posy ($2.50 each).
Next, my children enjoy breaking and chipping drinking glasses. I think it is a hobby. Anyway, most of our collection was Nutino glasses (Nutella ripoff) which I am not buying anymore due to our household sugar ban. I absolutely love these French and Turkish cafe-style glasses (20c each) which are thick and sturdy, and hopefully less likely to succumb to the vicissitudes of everyday life at Chez Blueday.
I also found these milkshake glasses, ($1 each) which exactly match two we already own. I am planning cheap and healthy home-made milk shakes this summer, made with this brilliant, cheap and delicious home made chocolate syrup (ok, yes. There is rather a lot of sugar in this. But, it is a once-a-week treat. Sugary treats now consist of one treat, one dessert, and one batch of baking per week, as a balancing act between mummy's dietary fanaticism, and a normal childhood..)
Four white side plates (20c each). See note above. The children like to crash these together while unpacking the dishwasher. I only ever buy white, or blue-and-white crockery so that everything always matches. Because, yes, I am a control freak.
Adorable spotty bowl for Rosy to keep all her hair bands in (50c). I saw this exact bowl in Target last year, and desperately wanted to buy it for her, but just couldn't bring myself to, due to giant warehouse rage. I feel smugly vindicated. Putting this away for Christmas.
I also found a book my mum wants for 20c, and a copy of The Shipping News, a book I have wanted to read since I watched the movie a few years ago (love, love both).
So, very happy about my charity shop haul, and even though I was ripped off by Gumtree John, I more than recouped the cost of the budgie cage by savings at the Mission shop. You know, I am someone who hates shopping. I hate fitting it into a day where I could otherwise be gardening, visiting friends or reading a book. Many years ago when we were on a strict budget, I shopped charity shops for all the kids' clothes and lots of our furniture, but that went out the window as The Man began to earn more. It became so convenient just to drive to Target, pick up whatever I wanted with very little thought or pain, whilst pushing down those worrisome thoughts about the impact this habit was having on the state of the planet, let alone the terrible waste of so much of The Man's life energy that was being turned into money just so I could buy another lamp..
And yet I convinced myself that the Target habit was easier, that it's really inconvenient to shop second hand, traipsing from charity shop to garage sale to Gumtree pick up. However, I have had a lot of fun this week, hunting for treasure, meeting Crazy John. It adds a little adventuresome flavour to life to do something different, to not get what you expect, but maybe find something else you need, or something that delights you that you had no idea you even yearned for.
I read this Leunig poem to the girls this week, and I think it captures the left-of-field, surprising nature of second hand shopping:
God give us rain when we expect sun.
Give us music when we expect trouble.
Give us tears when we expect breakfast.
Give us dreams when we expect a storm.
Give us a stray dog when we expect congratulations.
God play with us, turn us sideways and around.
from A Common Prayer
Maybe the unexpectedness of shopping away from the big box stores will make me braver, more resourceful, more willing to laugh in the face of soulless convenience, more creative, more human.
But let's not get carried away. Not being in control makes me a bit anxious and grumpy. At least as anxious and grumpy as I am when parking in one of those multi-storey car parks.. which maybe I will never have to do again.. because op shops don't tend to have them..