Eastern Carolina shoppers turn to secondhand stores to fight inflation hikes

Shoppers turn to secondhand stores to fight inflation hikes
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 7:02 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The country is struggling in its fight against surging inflation, with the consumer price index up 9.1% in June. Some are looking for alternative ways to make ends meet.

Thrifting has long been a hobby for many to find vintage treasures or one of a kind pieces, but now that the inflation pace is at its fastest since 1981, it’s becoming more of a necessity.

“My shoes? Five bucks at the indoor flea market out there,” said Dorothy Crowder. Pinching pennies where she can, she and her son were making their way through a list of Pitt County thrift stores and pawn shops.

She isn’t alone. Budgets are tighter and people are turning to resale stores for quick cash to get by.

“We’re seeing an increase in business as far as what we sell to people, but an even bigger increase in what we’re buying from people,” said Trade It CEO Fred George. “We generally put about $20,000 a week into the hands of local families who bring us their unwanted goods to sell, and that’s gone up to about $30,000 a week now.”

Food, gas, energy, and rent rates are all on an upward climb, but for many, the payday doesn’t change.

“I live on Social Security and my son there is on Social Security Disability. Us, we’re on a fixed income too,” said Crowder.

So, they pawn the things they can part with, or donate if they can afford it.

“Mainly on the thrift stores we donate everything because they ask if you want a receipt and I tell them no, we’re just donating,” said avid ‘thrifter’ Jamie Lewis.

There is no age limit to who is struggling to pay sticker price these days.

“It used to be more of a middle-aged, older crowd, but now we see a lot of young people shopping here,” said Stephanie Allen in between customers at My Sister’s Closet thrift shop. “I think that is something different. People can’t afford to go out and get a $50 top when they can come here and get one for $4.”

Thrift stores and pawn shops offer relief for things like clothes or electronics, but there have been increases in a market where you can’t buy secondhand, food.

Those rates are up a complete percentage point and traders aren’t confident that it’ll be going down soon.

With the rise of consumer prices came the fall of inflation-adjusted incomes. Those average hourly earnings fell 1% for the month and just over 3.5% from a year ago.

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