Reading on a Thrift Store Business Model

Posted by Nancy Callan on 21 March 2014 | 0 Comments

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Thrift stores are becoming more popular with middle aged clothes shoppers. Seems if you don't want to wear yoga attire to work, thrift stores are some of the best sources for clothing made from a wider variety of fabrics.

Not everyone likes second hand clothing, but even if the environmental ethic of reducing our consumption is a hard sell or the excitement of a rare find is difficult to convey, cultural differences in attitudes toward second hand shopping are a worthwhile topic to explore in the English language learning class. 

A cross-cultural difference worth making students aware of is that people in the West are often not embarrassed to admit they purchased something second hand. In fact, having found something at a remarkably cheap price at a thrift store or garage sale can lend a certain cachet to the item, even bragging rights to the consumer. Ask your students if the same applies in their cultures and many may reveal such a purchase would be a source of shame.

While students will pick and choose the aspects of our culture they wish to adopt, part of our job as ESL, ELL or EFL teachers is to improve students' bi-cultural fliuency, thereby enhancing their soft skills. 

I've created two worksheets, one for beginner and one for intermediate, on a thrift store called Value Village. It's part of the Savers chain. This is a company with a very successful business model even students uninterested in second hand shopping usually find very interesting. A for-profit company, Savers gets its merchandise from and shares its profits with over 160 non-profit partners. 

Click on the image below to view the intermediate level reading exercise.

The beginner exercise covers the basics. Click on the image below to view it. 


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