Long an advocate of less consumption and more investment, with advice like contributing to charity or 529 college savings funds instead of gift cards or buying gifts that are often unwanted, I was intrigued with the growth in on-line "consignment shops." According to Patrick McGroarty, writing for The Wall Street Journal, "unwanted holiday gifts and lightly worn clothes from years past are swelling the inventory of fast-growing online consignment and secondhand clothing retailers like Swap.com." An estimated 30% of holiday gifts are returned. Inside a massive warehouse near Chicago, "Swap’s 200 full-time employees spend 10-hour shifts unpacking, photographing and repricing a mountain of clothing from sellers hoping to make a quick buck." Many of the items are new with tags attached, reflecting the disconnect between givers and recipients.
Time to re-think traditional gift-giving practices.