Guest blog written by social media volunteer and millennial Melissa.
A while back I read a BuzzFeed article about the top items millennials (aka my generation) aren’t buying. It stated that millennials, born early 80s to early 00s, often don’t have much money and are putting off buying bigger ticket items such as homes, diamonds, and life insurance. As a millennial myself, I can say I have yet to purchase any of these things.
After reading this, I got to thinking, if my generation isn’t buying these investment/spendier items, then what are we supposedly buying? According to a Money.com article, my generation appreciates convenience, craftsmanship, and speed. We don’t make big purchases, but are willing to spend freely on smaller budget and “necessity” items. From athletileisure to same-day delivery and grab-and-go foods to craft beers, my constantly on-the-move generation insists on comfort, skill, and ease around our schedules.
So why is this? Social demands and lifestyles of our generation have changed drastically over the past few decades and has influenced how millennials, and everyone else, make purchases.
A Forbes.com article states that advertisers are no longer the buying influencers that once molded previous generations. Instead millennials rely heavily on our peer networks, reviews, blogs, and authentic content before making purchases. But once we find a brand we love, we stick with it, and often value brands that give back or have an aspect of social good.
Thinking this over, I realized that I fall squarely into most of these statements about millennials. I appreciate convenience, stick with brands I like, and buy from companies that give back. Which is part of the reason why I love shopping and volunteering with ECA. Not only do I feel good about donating my time, but ECA gives back to non-profits in my community, so I can see their contributions in action.
Since mid January, ECA has been listing items for sale on ebay. Over the last three months, we have sold about 50 items. But one recent transaction stands out. We had a set of four white procelain Bing & Grondahl plaques for sale. A gentleman in Maryland made an offer to buy the plaques, and I accepted his offer. I then received a message from him that he wanted to pay more since we are a nonprofit. I wrote back and said that he was being very generous, but the sale had already gone through.
I didn’t think any more about it until a call came into the shop on Friday. A customer was calling, wanting to speak with me. Once he identified himself as the gentleman from Maryland, I immediately thought “Oh no, it’s a problem with the plaques.” But to my surprise and delight, he wanted to get an email address to send me some pictures of the changes he made to the plaques. So I gave him my email address, and then we chatted a bit.
He was quite pleased with the plaques and how he has displayed them. He had taken them out of the frames and soaked them to remove the glue that was securing them to green velvet backgrounds. The picture on the left shows how they look now.
When I saw the pictures he sent, I just started smiling. Smiling about finding treasures, about upcycling them, about kind and friendly communication among strangers, and how small and connected the world seems in this age of technology.
One of the things I like best about volunteering at ECA is the adventure - the thrill of opening a newly donated box or bag and wondering what I am going to find. While it is true that 93% of the items are everyday things that are very useful and necessary, it is the search for the 7% that holds the biggest thrill and is the most fun for me.
Having someone from Maryland find such pleasure from one of the treasures I unboxed adds a whole new dimension of enjoyment for me.
If you want to join the “treasure hunt” as a volunteer, go to our website and fill out our volunteer application. If you want to find and purchase some treasures, come to our shop in Kirkland or visit us on ebay.
Magic can happen,
Susan is a frequent volunteer at Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop, where she sorts, prices, and stocks merchandise to her heart's content. Before retirement, she owned and operated a consignment shop for women's plus size clothing in Seattle. Through trial and error and talking with customers, she learned a thing or two. An avid "thrift shopper," Susan loves to buy clothing, especially when she gets good quality and value for her money.
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Eastside Community Aid
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