Monday, November 8, 2010

Authenticity: friend or faux.

Everyone in my circle probably knows by now that I have an issue with authenticity.

I'm not fond of fake Australian accents. I don't like to see anyone wearing a John Elway jersey, with the obvious exception of John Elway. I avert my eyes when someone plays air instruments they don't actually know how to play, especially guitar.

That's my OCD thing. I value authenticity.

So how does my disorder translate into being thrifty, you ask?

Thrifting is the ultimate authentic act.

Let's go shopping at Target, shall we? We can buy loads of stuff at Target, and most of us breathe a sigh of fiscal relief if we get out of those whooshing red doors without dropping a Franklin. The stuff we buy at Target easily integrates into our worlds. That's part of the Target love.

But, like driving a car off the lot or washing a brand new pair of jeans, the big bags of stuff you'll soon forget you bought at Target may soon be found at the thrift store right down the street.

Thrift store shopping has its deficits, and its very obvious advantages.

The major deficit to going all kinds of thrifty is that you never know if you're going to find what you need.

And some may argue that the unpredictability of thrift store shopping is a complete bonus.

Because often times, you find something better than what you were initially looking for.

Mr. Fabulous and I were talking about this very topic earlier today.

Before he met me, he didn't do much thrift shopping. But he knows what the good brands are, so he's a thrift store natural. We both have a knack for finding diamonds in the rough.

We spent some time this morning chatting about the amazing brands we've found at thrift stores.

J. Jill. Coach. Eddie Bauer. Columbia. My favorite Levi's, already nicely worn in.

Yes, we live in troubled times. But they're a bit less troubling when armed with the golden ticket that, once accessed, makes great merch even better when it's so good, so profuse, so cheap.

Yes, there's an air of authenticity, of true ownership, when items are purchased at a retail store. It's nice to get stuff that's new.

But the new-smell of victory is a bit sweeter when what you need is found on the cheap.

So what's authentic? The bag of retail goodness from a mall or a big box store? Or does authenticity come from the moment of finding, of appreciating its real value, of acquiring something special that doesn't require a second thought when it comes to affordability?

It depends on what side of the fence you choose to sit.

Hard times require creativity. And I've found that the ease and reliably predictable acquisition of new stuff seems so so faux.

The world in which I spin finds authenticity, value and a whole lot of fun not only in the outcome of acquisition, but in the process.

If I could just make sure I avoid places who employ faux Australian speakers wearing Elway jerseys while playing air guitar, my quest for authenticity will be complete.

It's really very easy, on all counts.

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