Monday, May 17, 2010

I Broke the Compact

Which of these shoes are not like the others? Which of these shoes doesn't belong? If you guessed the white ones, you are wrong...

The shoes that don't belong are the ones on the right, the newly purchased Birkenstock sandals. They don't belong because I bought them new, while the others in the picture, I obtained used through my local thrift shop.

I joined the Compact at the beginning of this year, vowing to not buy anything new for all of 2010 and I have done great, not bringing anything new into my life up until now. But yesterday, in a weak moment, I caved. Not so much because I felt I had to have a brand new pair of shoes, but more so because I haven't been able to find a pair of sandals I liked used. Each week, I have trucked over to the thrift shop in hopes of finding what I have been looking for but instead I have returned with shoes that don't quite fit the bill.

All I wanted was a simple pair of flat brown sandals. With the weather warming, the need has grown. Was it a real need, one that required me to take resources from the natural world to generate it just for me? I can't answer that. I just know the desire to have them was postponed over several months as I searched for alternatives. The purchase was not made on impulse and was well thought out.

So, yes, I broke the Compact. But I did so in a very well thought out kind of way. Maybe that is the point of the Compact. To really think through our purchases which in turn will vastly reduce the purchases made.

To my credit, all of my clothing purchases for this year have been used. The outfit I wore to my son's college graduation, pairs of shorts, jeans, shirts etc...Even all of my shoes (except for the Birk's above) have been used. To be honest, I didn't think I would ever purchase and wear someone else's shoes, but I have and do.

I must say, I love buying and wearing used clothing. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and love how my finds are exposing me to new fun ways of dressing that I may not have considered before. I especially feel good on the days when I realize I am wearing an entire outfit comprised of thrift store clothing. Good for me and the planet.



Don't be so hard on yourself about breaking the compact. Instead I would look at the way you are purchasing your clothes -- all secondhand this year! How many folks out there are doing the same? I hope many! -- barbara

Wendy said...

I have those same sandals. I've had them for several years, and frankly, they still look almost as good as your new ones.

So, while you may be feeling a little uncomfortable about breaking your compact, let me commend you on your great choice. Those sandals, purchased only after a great deal of thought and soul-searching, will last you 100% longer than the pair of cheaply made junk sandals from the discount store I see other people buying on impulse just so that they can have some sandals during this warm weather we're having.

By the way, I've even worn mine on the beach (yes, they got wet ... with salt water!) and out in the garden. In short, since you made such a wise decision in getting the Birkenstocks, you'll not have to buy another pair for a very, VERY long time, and I think that's really the spirit of the Compact - to limit new purchases and to buy things that will last for a very long time when a new purchase has to be made.

Don't beat yourself up. You done good :).

Darcy said...


Thanks for your support mom! Also thanks for starting me on "used" stuff all those years ago when I complained about having used antiques for furniture as a young child.

Darcy said...


Glad to hear your shoes have been a good purchase and that I will get many good years of use out of mine as well! I love it when things last forever...