Thrifting: English Language and Thrift

Topics: English language, Oxford English Dictionary, Retailing Pages: 2 (594 words) Published: June 17, 2011
Thrifting refers to the act of shopping at a thrift store, flea market, garage sale, or a shop of a charitable organization, usually with the intent of finding interesting items at a cheap price. A larger philosophy permeates the act of thrifting which celebrates the recycling of formerly-owned items, finding new use and new love for vintage material goods which had been thrown out, and the thrill of imagining what the former life of the item was like. A 'zine called "Thrift Score", published in the 1990s by Ms. Al Hoff, celebrated this lifestyle. Many "resale" shops pull their more interesting items from thrift stores and sell them at higher prices - the premium is because the "digging for gold" has already been done. Origin

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, thrift came to the English language from an Old Norse verb meaning grasp or get hold of. Among several definitions, Merriam-Webster defines thrift as: careful management especially of money and claims its origins are Middle English, from Old Norse meaning prosperity, from thrīfask to thrive from the 13th century. It is interesting that thrift, with roots as a verb, 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. There seems to be no other verb that fits the term to shop for re-purposed/re-used products. American lexicon has also morphed thrift to that of an adjective, thrifty. Thrifters

Thrifting lures a variety of different audiences. Two most commonly come to mind: 1) People who have no economic choice but to buy secondhand, 2) Bargain or treasure hunters. There is an emerging third audience and chances are it far outnumbers the first two. Simply put, this is an audience of smart shoppers consisting largely of families with a stay at home parent and young professionals. Their reasons for thrifting are a combination of the first two. Overall, these three groups thrift to...
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