"Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping" - Bo Derek
This morning I was watching Global News and they had a special guest on, as they usually do on the morning program. This guest was one of the founding members of Kijiji, Canada’s premiere second hand online market for pretty much anything… different than EBay, as you don’t ‘bid’ for stuff, you basically search, view and contact the owner directly. I have found my present and previous vehicles from Kijiji, as have many of my clients found home rentals in Calgary and all over Alberta. It was interesting to hear that Kijiji has been around for 10 years, and originated in Toronto, Canada, as Calgarians seem to feel that it is ‘theirs’.
Second hand for me is not new. No pun intended. In fact, I remember when we lived in Australia in the late 1970s and my mom, as thrifty as single parents come, decided that we would take the three bedroom bungalow in the Perth suburbs, but we would furnish it solely from Sally-Ann’s and thrift stores… that was an exciting time for a 10 year old kid, climbing around the isles of gently used antiques and retro furniture, not to mention knickknacks and ancient stuff from times gone by. Fast forward to being a starving student in Calgary in the mid 1990s, and there was Value Village. What a hoot, as it was not only practical, but was a fun place to venture in time for Halloween… once on a quick trip to Calgary in October 2009, I jumped into the Value Village in SE Calgary and picked up the most awesome outfit to finish off my “FemBot” conceptual costume, which I took back to China and wowed my friends at a well timed Halloween party in the far suburbs of Beijing. How could I have done that without Value Village?
Personally, second hand shopping became a business venture of mine in China, ca. 2005 - 2009, when I and a good friend opened China’s first and foremost second hand shop geared towards outfitting new mothers and fathers in the latest maternity wear, cribs, strollers, toys and pretty much everything for the baby… NU2YU Baby Shop was a huge success, not to mention, it was a lot of fun! I was sort of a Robin Hood, where I would rent a van and cruise out to the gated communities on the outskirts of Beijing and ‘buy’ from the expats and then ‘resell’ to the inner city expats and local Chinese who could not afford or find quality baby goods in the overpriced Beijing department stores.
Buying second hand or ‘gently used’, which is sometimes a more easy way to market it, is a lifestyle, I get that, as it is not everyone’s bag. However, if you are there and into it, then it serves three main purposes: 1) it saves landfills, as stuff gets recycled, regardless of price, and does not end up in the landfills here or globally; 2) it saves on having to import, as it supports local businesses who deal with second hand goods reselling and saves on import duties, costs of shipping and handling, too; 3) reduction for sure of anyone’s carbon foot print. Period. Not to mention, second hand store trawling is a great way to add to one of one’s many collections, you know, for those who collect cameras, retro dish ware, old hats ad nauseum…
Alas, I find myself in my mid 40s in Calgary and looking for work... and lo and behold, I am back buying and selling second hand; however, this time it is in the form of homes , not strollers and cribs... Yup, real estate is very much about recycling, reusing and reducing one's carbon foot print… resale homes are still a highly sought after commodity in Canada, and will be around for a very long time. In many ways, becoming a real estate associate was a nature fit. Next time you buy, will you consider a new or ‘gently used’ home?