Lead Balloon

With Age Comes…Not Much.
June 3, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been meaning to make a post about this for a while now. We had a garage sale a couple weeks ago – needed to clean out the garage to make room for a car (read: my car) to fit inside of the garage so that when one (read: me) and her baby (read: baby girl) get into the car in the hot, hot summers of Texas, their skin isn’t burned and chargrilled on contact.

We’re still not able to park in the garage.

But I’m praying that we’ll be able to before summer ends. And I’m not, in any way, moaning and groaning about that. Nor am I nagging. I’m just making a public announcement here that I’d really prefer to be able to park in that garage right now.

Anyway. We made about $350 from the sale, but didn’t sell a couple of the “big” items. Sold a lot of clothes, but not some of the nicer ones – which I found fascinating. Apparently what some people consider NICE (hooker-ish lingerie that was given to me as a gag gift with the tags still on it), other people don’t consider NICE (really nice suits, slacks and blouses).

Something just occurred to me. The fact that I used the word “blouses” pretty much makes this post even more worth writing than I thought. Keep reading.

So after the sale, we packed a lot of the stuff into a box and placed it on the corner of our driveway with a “FREE” sign on it. What wasn’t picked up IMMEDIATELY, pretty much went out with the trash the next trash day. Other things, we took to a donation center. But I’d set aside some of those “nice” clothes to take to a re-sale shop.

Let’s just stop here for a moment and discuss how greedy that is. “I”m going to donate all these less-than-nice clothes to the Christian re-sale shop, but these nicer things, yeah, I’m going to go see if I can win back the money I spent on dry cleaning them (subsequently also killing the environment) for a few years.” What exactly WERE my motives? I don’t know. Greed. And the want of a high-efficiency washer and dryer.

Back to the story.

I loaded up those nicer clothes and headed to a re-sale shop I’d seen in a shopping center we visit from time to time. Walked in with this LOAD of clothes over my arms (still on the hangers, and some with dry cleaning tags STILL ON THEM – Sweet Jesus, what a waste of money). Immediately I notice that a lot of the clothes for sale in this place look SMALL. Then I notice the music in th background – Top 40 type of stuff – playing loudly. It wasn’t until THEN that I noticed the clientele. Very young. Very hip. Very much not going to like my “nicer” clothes. Unless maybe they had a funeral to attend. (And one might say this is how all of my clothes look, even now. Funeral-like.)

Before I can even get to the space at the counter where the “buying” transaction usually takes place – a young, supple, firm and flat girl walks out from behind the counter and SO VERY KINDLY says to me these things:

“SO, let me tell you how this works! We buy ‘gently used’ clothing brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and (something else I don’t even recall or know what it is). We buy only the latest labels – in other words, we can tell by looking at the label how old the clothes are. We’re really targeting the teenage girl and guy groups.”

Translation – “I’ve just come out from behind the counter to stop you now, because from the looks of you and your clothes, I want to save you the embarassment.”

So I smiled and said, “Okay…well, I have a few nice sweaters here from Banana Republic and the Gap – are those brands that you guys take?”

She says (again, I can’t communicate enough, here, the chirpy, friendly nature of her voice), “Well let me take a look! I’ll be able to tell by looking at the labels.”

So she goes through my clothes and when she gets to those items, she frowns a bit and says, “No, I’m sorry, those labels are much older than what we buy for our shop.”

Okay, I can take that. I did, after all, buy the sweaters more than two years ago. I can respect that.

But then. Then. I asked if she knew of a place that might be interested in this stack of clothes. Any place where donations are needed for women interviewing for jobs, etc.? She says, “We do recommend one store in particular that buys and re-sells mature clothing – but they are appointment only. I’ll write their number down for you!”


She called my clothes MATURE.

I don’t expect all teenagers to dress like they’re going to a funeral. I don’t expect them to wear a nice Gap turtleneck in the winter. The truth is, they’ve got short denim skirts and leg warmers to wear, with their flip flops, all winter long. And tight, layered shirts that really show off their muffin tops.


I laughed, and walked out. And at first, I was a little upset by it. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realize that I really never HAVE been anything more than a solid colors, plain Jane girl. That’s who I am. Even if stores like this existed when I was a teen, or in my early 20’s, I bet EVEN THEN my clothes, freshly purchased with THE LATEST tags on them, wouldn’t have been candidates for re-sale. It’s just the truth.

But I still can’t get the nagging question out of my head…Who exactly ARE they targeting in that store? Is it “cool” now to buy hand-me-downs? This store was in a relatively nice part of town – where kids likely don’t want for much and even MORE than likely don’t shop at re-sale shops. They’re more likely to sell their items there, after one wearing. When they go to school, though, are they scoping girls out in the cafeteria to see if someone has on their shirt? I’m fascinated by it, really.

But I’m much too mature to think too long about it.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Speaking of age, I don’t have many friends my age with kids, and know no women with three-year-olds without husbands. My life is very different from most of the closest people I know. Do you experience this? I feel so removed from those with whom I was once closest who still live on the edge, with no one with whom to be concerned but themselves. I wouldn’t trade it, but I’m curious if you have encountered the same — or if you do playdates with other mommies, etc.

Sometimes, lately, I’m just not sure where I fit, and I feel like I’m ahead of lots of folks when it comes to maturity and responsibility … I just need to find more people with whom I can relate. Do you ever experience the same?

Comment by Jen

She had to look at the labels after you told her where they were from?

Comment by allison

Oh yeah. Apparently the labels change from year to year. So they can tell by looking at a Banana Republic label if it’s from 2005, 2006, etc… If you think about it, they do change. I’ve just never paid that much attention to it!

Comment by Lauri

I never have either!

Comment by allison

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