Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The case for the verb of thrifting as a lifestyle, not an addiction.

Life presents so many addictive carrots. Caffeine. Meth. Cigarettes. Shopping. Gambling. Alcohol. Sex. Food. Thrifting.

What the what? Thrifting?

I heard a recent discussion in the media that offered up thrifting as a potential addiction.

Unlike the shame and chaos a meth habit can generate, people who are addicted to thrift are usually proud to announce their proclivity openly and proudly.

It's a fairly new, novel addition to the addiction list, primarily because thrifting has only recently become fashionable. The noun of thrift has become a verb. Anyone who's tried to find a parking space at a Goodwill on half-price day can verify that thrifting has become a cultural phenomenon.

And thrifting as a verb has only recently been woven into our cultural lexicon. Wiki says that "It's interesting that thrift, with roots as a noun, formally remains a noun by today's English standards. Though it is not a proper verb, thrifting or to thrift has found place in modern American language out of necessity."

Although I've not been able to find any verifiable evidence on my magical computer box that thrifting has been identified as a potential addiction, shopaholics walk among us. explains that "compulsive shoppers use their money, their family's money and credit cards in order to feed their addiction. Shopping addicts are two sorts of people: people who spend way beyond their funds and people who constantly think about making purchases and window shop daily."

Definitely not a Third World problem.

It's true that, when left unchecked, any behavior can get ugly. And in the case of chronic thrifting, it can turn into the verb of hoarding, which isn't good

But most people who thrift, including myself, aren't the compulsive, wild-eyed, must-have hoarding type.

Because I and so many others just like me understand that thrifting as a verb creates a panoply of other wonderful action words. Saving money. Living happily with less. Nurturing personal contraint. Appreciating value in something someone else no longer wants. Snagging a great deal.

Long and short, the verb of thrifting is, for most people, a conduit to a less stressful life. It can be the antithesis of addiction.

I love the verb of thrifting, and I know its place in my life. For me, thrifting is a treasure hunt, it's been an education, sometimes it's a distraction, it's an income stream. I'm not an addict to the verb of thrift.

That's probably what an addict would say.

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