Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Angelica Martini (Central High School)
The lingering musk of your grandmother’s closet combined with clothes that stretch to the back of your mind can only mean your mother has dragged you along to yet another trip to the thrift store. Repelling and dreadful as it may sound to some, the “discount store” has secrets hiding between its hangers.
With almost 50 bookstores, donation centers, and discount clothing shops across Bluff City, Memphis is home to one of the largest “empowerment” store chains within the nation. Goodwill has a mission to educate their employees and offers jobs to those with disabilities, but it is also leading the middle class consumer fashion forward.
“Everyone always sees Goodwill as being an old lady store, but we are just like the mall. Except we are cheaper, and we have the same clothes, just organized a different way,” said Claudette Smith, an employee at Goodwill on South Highland.
The black trash bag swung from her hand as Smith continued a hard day’s work at what she calls “Barney’s Memphis”. Silver duct tape ripped open with her teeth tore open the bag and the first thing out was a grey chiffon Ann Taylor dress.
Marked with a red tag the dress that hung in what seemed like a grey light spectrum was marked at $3.99.
“You would be surprised if you really knew how many times I went thrift shopping,” said Courtney Cox. Starting at J.crew and working her way to Tommy Hilfiger the Central High sophomore stays savvy while saving on all these brands when shopping at Goodwill.
“I do admit it takes time to work your way through all of the clothes in the store, but the reward of knowing your picks are something no one else will be wearing is worth the workout,” Cox said.
In an informal poll taken by teenagers in Downtown Memphis, 56 percent were wearing a name brand they bought at Goodwill, and 85 percent admitted to shopping there.
Though the status quo might lead us to believe that being trendy means spending a lot of money, what we fail to see is the real meaning behind being fashionable.
Creativity comes in bundles and trash bags with every donation to Goodwill. With every dress or pants suit there is a story to follow. And the best things can be created out of nothing. Though it may not come with red tissue paper and a mile-long receipt, Goodwill continues to host top designers while giving more to their community than they will ever know.