Reduce, Reuse, and Retail Recycle: How to Get Creative with Retail Trends
It’s hard to forget some things. Years ago, stumbling through an antique shop someplace, I came across a biplane made entirely out of Red Dog beer cans. Yep. Red Dog. There was so little shame, here, that they didn’t even feel the need to bother with even a marginally better-quality beer. Either that, or they just sold the entire squadron of Milwaukee’s Best prior to me coming in the shop.
I thought to myself, “I’m all for recycling, but man, beer can planes? That’s gotta be pushing it.”
One man’s trash is another man’s biplane, I guess. But the artist, whoever it was, did make a conscious effort to recycle something. The sentiment of it, at least, was admirable and Captain Planet would most certainly approve of this beer-can-MacGyver.
Paper airplanes are about as technically complicated as I’m willing to get when it comes to the business of domestic aviation construction, and although my skills sets didn’t match those of the artist, it did cause me to take a moment and think, “Well, how could I be a little more environmentally-friendly?”
I take the looks and clothes I see in fashion magazines and store advertisements, and put them together for a fraction of the cost, with used or vintage items.
Here’s my latest adventure:
The other week, while I was finishing up the final details on my “J.Crew at the Liquor Store” post, I was assembling the photographs I wanted to feature in the article, and came across one of a table with nice wristwatches on it. Round-faced, plain-dialed, and two-handed, they looked like the kind of watch your dad would wear. Or your dad’s dad, even. Cool. Classic. Basic. J.Crew updated them with new, military-style nylon bands in bold colors, hoping to make them appealing to a younger generation. Well, mission accomplished by J.Crew. I wanted one immediately after seeing it.
Note the bold-colored, military-style nylon bands.
Turns out that innocent-looking timekeeping device was a wallet-devouring monster.
The pricetag? $3,995.
The brand? Omega: the brand worn by Daniel Craig in the new James Bond films.
(My guess is Bond spend so much time at that Texas Hold ‘Em table at the Casino Royale to pay off some of his wristwear collection).
J.Crew does offer a more affordable version. Their designers collaborated with Timex to produce a timepiece modeled after vintage military wristwear. It’s only the small sum of $150.
Well, it looked like my anticipated vintage wristwatch-buying spending spree at J.Crew’s Men Shop wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
It was a simple idea, though: take an older watch, ditch the standard, leather band, and replace it with something a little more colorful and modern.
Logging onto Ebay, I searched around for an older Timex watch.
Quite a few came up in my search results, but my eye kept darting back to one from the 1950’s. Mechanical, meaning “I’ve still got to wind it” (or, in more basic terms, the “tick-tock, tick-tock” kind). Almost 60 years old, and still working just fine. Since it was used – and since the strap would have to be replaced – I could get it for a deal, replace the strap myself, and make my own version of the watch I’d seen in the store pictures.
Watch? Check. Just needed a band like the one I’d seen.
I messaged the seller, telling him why I purchased the watch, and asking if he could offer me any advice on where to find the kind of band I was looking for. He not only got back to me, but even better, said he could duplicate the watch I showed him: he’d a few straps of the sort in his shop, and he’d gladly replace it, free-of-charge.
Strap? Check. And, just like that, and hour of Ebay-ing later, I’d the same watch.
Reduce. Reuse. And…avoid spending a bunch of money on a Rolex.
It finally came in the mail yesterday, and looks almost exactly the same as the one from J.Crew. Well, minus a few thousand dollars, plus some serious awesome points for myself.
It doesn’t hurt, either, than I spared another homeless watch from becoming yet another item for the city dump. What’s better than budget-friendly? Eco-friendly.
And that’s how I recycle.
Do you purchase used items to save money? Are there any unique or unconventional ways in which you recycle? If so, what are they and what inspired your own recycling?