Students bargain shop to reduce, reuse and recycle

By Sandra Rodriguez, Pulse staff writer

Student Keanu Martinez, Communications major Photo taken by Denise Barkis Richter, Ph.D.
Keanu Martinez, Communications major, models at the Recycled Fashion Show this past fall in the Student Center Annex.
Photo taken by Denise Barkis Richter, Ph.D.

Thrift stores are a shopping option for all ages, demographics and income levels.

“With millions of people looking for ways to save money in tough economic times, a growing number of consumers have turned to resale shops to find their clothes, furniture and household goods,” said Adele Meyer, executive director of The Association of Resale Professionals.

Nory Pakravan, a first-time college student majoring in Business, likes shopping at thrift stores and yard sales because they are inexpensive and she can find clothing and household items at a very low price.

“One of the things I like the most is finding vintage items or things I would normally find at a regular store,” said Pakravan.

Thrift stores are all over the city: Thrift Town, Family Thrift Center, Community Thrift of Texas, Texas Thrift Store, Boysville Auxiliary Thrift Store, Green Door Thrift Store, The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries of San Antonio.

Jason Meza is the communication manager at Goodwill Industries. “It’s hard to categorize Goodwill as simply a thrift shop when we do so much more,” said Meza, Goodwill offers employment solutions, volunteering opportunities, and on-line resources.

“At this time, we do not offer students in-store discounts. However, our color-of-the-week promotion allows any shopper to enjoy a $1-$2 discount on marked items every Sunday and Monday,” said Meza. “Also, many students enjoy using the popular Foursquare app to ‘check-in’ to places. After several check-ins, Foursquare entitles a person to be ‘mayor’ of a location. If you are a mayor of Goodwill, we offer a 25 percent discount off the total purchase price.”

For some students, bargain prices have a deeper meaning than finding the right item. Eileen Cardenas, a sophomore majoring in Nursing, said that she shops at thrift stores because she is an unemployed, full-time student, and thrift stores are all she can afford.

Her two favorite thrift stores are the Goodwill on the South Side, because it’s the closest to her, and the Goodwill clearance store on Commerce and General McMullen Street because it’s the cheapest one. There, most clothing items are 99 cents.

Some college students shop at Goodwill every week. “Students enjoy a ‘scavenger’ approach to designer clothes and thrifty items,” said Meza.

Keanu Martinez, a sophomore Communications major, occasionally shops at thrift stores. Martinez said, “The best item I ever found was probably a pair of almost brand new shoes I needed, and they were less than $10. It was a good deal.”

Thrift store shopping is a great way to practice your three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reduce – Purchasing a used item rather than a new one reduces the amount of damage to the environment. It also keeps all of those items in thrift store out of landfills.

Reuse – Most items at thrift stores are in good condition and can be reused.

Recycle – Thrift-store items can be recycled or up-cycled! Thrift-store goods can be given a second life by being turned into something new.

Pakravan said, “Other than saving boatloads of cash, thrifting has its other upsides. Chances are if you buy your clothes from your local thrift store, no one else will be wearing what you are.”