Zen and the Art of Goodwill
I am not a regular thrifter. I try, but there are obstacles. Usually, it’s time. Plus, as a policy, I do not to shop recreationally. Don’t go ‘just because’. Go with a purpose and a list.
What with the days off I am currently relishing, I’ve got a bit of time. And lo and behold a list of a few things we need. So it was yesterday, I made a trip to my local Goodwill store.
My modest haul. Total cost $14.41.
Nothing too exciting really. Work jeans for The Husband, a pyrex loaf tray to replace the horrible silicone one we have, a very nice spring form pan, and a quart mason jar for $.17 to add to my stash. I ‘m certainly no Non-Consumer Advocate. Still, it’s none too shabby, if I do say so myself.
As always, I found myself in awe of the sheer amount of Stuff we as a society toss aside. My local stores are always bursting at the seams with other peoples possessions. Whenever I go, I am struck with how we justify buying anything new, ever.
Yesterday though, I came to a realization about this sort of shopping; Doing this is a mixture of art and skill. It requires a very different mindset than a traditional consumer experience.
Sure, have a list. Have intentions. Just not expectations. This is not somewhere you can pop in, scan the horizon for your department, stride over to it with determination, and find what you are looking for in 10 seconds flat.
Oh no. At Goodwill you should take your time. You never know what you are going to find. Consider it a slow motion scavenger hunt. You need to give up what you are looking for to find it.
It’s totally Zen, baby.
Take your coffee or your bottle of water, and wander. This is one of those situations where not all who wander are lost.
Maybe start in housewares. Walk slow. Breathe deep. Take it all in. Survey. Meander through to books and media. Why yes, that is a first edition copy of Watership Down. Split Binding. Too bad. Moving on.
Eventually you make it to the racks. Where you start the process of flipping. Here you are seeing without really seeing. Let your mind wash through the endless array of the shrunken or the over stretched. The stained and the out-dated. Keeping it open to your own personal diamond in the rough, whatever that may be.
Slowly you gather. One after another the items quietly make their way into your cart as your journey continues. Or maybe they don’t. Maybe today is just about getting out of the house. Be not discouraged. Know that today, there was nothing out there intended for you. Next time it will be different.
Seek without wanting. That’s what this experience is about. Let go of those trappings of traditional consumerism.
Then repeat as necessary. Like all exercises the more you practice, the more you engage in the Goodwill Zen, the better your finds will be.