Why do we fear gifting a resale (or, horror – a USED) item?
When I was young, I distinctly recall receiving a board game for Christmas that was clearly used. It was the first time my folks had given me something that wasn’t new, other than hand-me-down clothes. I was confused, but I knew it was not OK to ask why. I suspect they bought it at a garage sale, or traded with a friend or neighbor. Garage sales were not common in the 1960’s, I suspect people were afraid of looking “not well off”.
In our family, it was standard for each of the 4 kids to get one “big” gift, plus the requisite new socks and a couple small items (like maple sugar Santas-YUM!). In addition, each of the kids drew names of another sibling to gift. Many times we created handmade items, not that we were terrible creative, mind you, but it really was about the thought and time that went into it. There were never gift lists of ideas, you had to put yourself into the other person’s brain and imagine what they would like.
For me, that’s the best thing about giving a gift-really thinking what would fit the personality and interests of the recipient. It’s why, to this day, I steadfastly refuse to buy things on wedding registries, unless I don’t know the couple well. My gifting tastes tend to run toward the practical and useful, yet beautiful. One of the best wedding gifts my husband and I received is a wooden salad set that we use several times a week, lo these 33 years later. That’s the gift I want to give, the one that makes the giftee think of me everytime she uses or wears the gift. (Not that I expect everyone to keep gifts that long!)
The older I became, the more common and acceptable shopping garage and yard sales became. But it wasn’t really until my family got into the resale business that it became commonplace for us to give resale items as gifts. The shift was pretty immediate, it was suddenly completely acceptable. The feeling of confusion evaporated.
As a purveyor of resale merchandise, you may think it self-interested of me to promote the acceptance of resale shopping for gifts. And, you wouldn’t be wrong. But for me it goes deeper. If you can get that salad set feeling by shopping on Amazon and never touching the gift item, I applaud you. I will admit to having done that a time or two also. But generally, I enjoy the time it takes to peruse, to sift, to wait and wonder when I will find just the right thing. For me, the search is part of the fun, in addition to the anticipation of waiting to give the perfect thing I found.
Resale shopping, whether it’s for the perfect designer handbag, or silk blouse, or a gorgeous vintage pottery piece, takes time. It’s not for the faint of heart, or short of time. Resale shopping is more of an avocation, something you do all the time, or when the spirit strikes. Sometimes you’ll find the ideal gift item in the middle of March, just after Boxing Day, or a clearance sale in August. You have to be open to the possibilities. I would like to remind everyone that gift giving can be done anytime, and that sometimes a gift received at an unexpected time can be even more delightful than on a specific occasion. Just because is a holiday, too!
So, with all that in mind, here are some helpful tips on how to shop resale for gifts, for holidays or any other day!
Shopping resale for gifts? Indeed!
- Hesitant to gift resale? Dip your toe in the water by looking for resale items that are new with tags! At HWGA, we not only get a lot of items that are new with tags, we also carry a variety of fun gift items and stocking stuffers. Check out Here We Go Again’s New With Tags rack in November and December.
- Ask for help – with years of experience helping shoppers with a range of budgets, tastes and sizes, we offer expert advice! You can even call us ahead and we’ll curate a selection for consideration.
- Consider accessories – we always have a great selection of scarves, jewelry, handbags and small accessories that aren’t size-specific. Often, some of these items are new, too!
- Take advantage of gift guarantees – if you’re not certain about an item, we allow returns for store credit if we know the item is for a gift.
- Still not sure? Gift certificates always fit and a are big hit with resale devotées.
- Given a bit of extra time, some small shops will even gift-wrap for you!
Once you start, you’ll get used to gifting resale and used items. It’s easier on the planet, it supports local businesses that are tied to the community, and it’s just plain fun!