I’ve just come back from Savers (a huge chain of recycled clothes stores) where I was hunting for hoodies for my four teenage boys.
It turns out last year’s hoodies are either:
1. Too small – fair enough they’re growing like maniacs.
2. Lost at some mates’ place, the skate park, or been shoved so far under their beds they’ve slipped off the edge of the bedroom into the Lost Zone, along with the 10 dozen pairs of socks I bought last year.
3. Have permanent mould stains after being stowed in the bottom of a backpack after a ten-day school camp and then pushed under the bed where they went on to fill the bedroom with the pungent odour of putrefied sweat.
4. Are just too “gay” to wear for another season. (I apologise for the inappropriate term, but I’m quoting directly).
So clearly it was time for new jumpers and as a supporter of the ‘reduce, reuse recycle’ thing I headed to Savers, which to the uninitiated, is like a secondhand hypermarket. My local store has two massive storeys of every conceivable second-hand item, from baby suits and booties, to wedding dresses, designer hand bags, sub-arctic jackets, stilettos, a mountain of stuffed toys and all the useless ceramic knick knacks you could ever need.
Each clothes rack is crammed with hundreds of garments (reminds me of my nan saying “garment” – next I’ll be talking about slacks and frocks) in the full gamut of style from ugly-as-sin-daggy-fashion-disaster to amazing bargain designer finds.
It’s important to enter Savers with a clear plan of attack. Many an inexperienced shopper has been lost in the bowels of the store, found days later mumbling ‘I just wanted a plain black handbag to match my new frock*…”
As I walked in I didn’t stop to glance at the book section or the showcase of ‘antiques’ (Don’t know about you but I wouldn’t pay $50 for Charles’ and Di’s Wedding Souvenir book) instead I went straight up the narrow elevator to Men’s wear.
The thing that struck me today at Savers was the number of teenage boys shopping together in pairs and filling their baskets with bargains.
I’ll admit I was initially miffed; clearly they were in direct competition with me, and blocking my aisle, but they were so sweet that I forgave them.
One pair was trying on windcheaters and even while I was thinking “Back off,” I was impressed by their banter.
“OMG this is awesome,” one said checking his reflection as he modeled an ironic 70s velour jumper.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” his mate answered, “but did you see the price? It’s ten bucks, you have to be really sure if you’re gonna spend ten bucks.”
I love these boys. Somewhere two mums are smiling in self-satisfied smugness – their work here is done.
Across the aisle two more teenagers were trying on daggy Hawaiian shirts and comparing the old-man slacks* they’d scored.
What fantastic young men. Happy to do a spot of alternative shopping; to be money wise and not be sucked in by brands and marketing. And apparently not rampaging the streets causing havoc with their disaffected attitude, but shopping unselfconsciously. Take that mainstream media who would have us believe that all teen boys are angry rebels.
Oh and my shopping mission? I snapped up five cool hoodies for $25 and the boys are now snuggled up against any harsh Autumnal zephyrs.
* My nan would be proud.