Friday, January 30, 2009

Shopping (by Suzie)


          There is tremendous pressure on women to shop and spend, to be attractive and fashionable. I would like to say that I have resisted those pressures. But, alas, I have fallen prey to is the first Internet auction site created, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization. It was created and is operated by Goodwill of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA). Participating Goodwill's from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous. Revenues from these auction sales fund Goodwill's education, training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other barriers.
          I’ve learned to look at measurements, not sizes, which vary widely among designers. Also, the color can be way off in the photos. Sometimes I see several items in a row, all the same size, and I wonder about the woman who bought them. On the same page with the jewel-tone, brand-new wool skirts, all size 12, is the Cher 2004 Farewell Tour T Shirt Sz 2XL Black, all with the starting bid of $5. You can find classics like Talbot’s or a Vintage 60’s Mod Floral Lounge Maxi Dress. There are bustiers and bridal gowns and furs.
           If you are a better feminist than I am, if you can resist cashmere sweaters for $5, you may still enjoy the site's quirkiness. In an age of slick marketing, the marketing often consists of calling something “lovely” or “neat.” My heart goes out to the El Paso Goodwill, which often offers things for only a dollar, like these black boots that “would look good with a pair of jeans.”
           I don’t understand purse-love. It seems like a chore to change purses all the time. But people must know something about the Cute Plaid Purse that I don’t, because the bidding has gone up to $58.
         If you still have a VCR, there are good bargains on videos. Starting at $4.99, you can get How to Understand Great Music & Cosmic Questions. A little more may buy you the collector’s edition of Babylon 5.
         Some things are lumped together. The 19 Pounds of Jewelry has been bid up to $502, and you've got one more day to bid. The Goodwill stores stuff jewelry, not just in plastic bags, but in hat boxes and vases and baskets and tins and pottery and a vintage glass top hat. There are even jewelry boxes full of jewelry.
         The more I look at all this stuff, the more I wonder why people attach so much importance to it.
         My favorite category is Miscellaneous, whose current items include: One Pound Lot of Mysterious Clear Plastic Swords; Bowman Sphygmomanometer; Metal Horseshoe Stand Thing; Monkey playing the Cymbals - Battery Operated; Papoose Carrying Board; Red Kangaroo Hide; The Swine World Nat'l Poland China Journal 1930's; Decorated Jaw Bone; Rearview Mirror w/ Red-Eyed Skulls; 2 Preserved Scorpions, 1 Beetle; Car made from Coca~Cola Can; 3 Natural Cow Horns 1 Polished; and the Galileo Galilei Thermometer, which is labeled "man gift" for the women who might be baffled why anyone would want this.