As college students, we are always looking for the cheapest options. Should pay an extra 50 cents for the Kraft Mac n Cheese, or buy the Walmart brand? Will my clothes be just as clean with Tide, or can I get by with the generic product? Being frugal is regularly the number one rule to live by during our college years, and that rule also applies to our wardrobes. It can be kind of scary trying to not break the bank when clothes shopping, but it doesn’t have to be.
This is where the Et Cetera Shop comes in. The Newton Et Cetera Shop is part of a wide U.S. and Canadian thrift network that “emphasizes donation, volunteerism, recycling and alternative consumerism,” according to their Facebook page. This store gives 100% of their net income to Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and service agency. Not only does the Et Cetera Shop have clothes, it also has toys for children, tableware, appliances, and other things people donate.
I came to the Et Cetera Shop with a specific mission: Find an outfit great for college life with only $5. I was a little skeptical going into it. I wasn’t sure how much stuff they’d have to choose from, if they’d have a lot of options in my size, and if anything was appealing to me. Opening the front doors, my skepticism faded away. The store is quite large for its appearance from the outside, and there are a good number of clothing racks. To my relief, they were organized by size, so it didn’t require any searching through hundreds of tags for my fit.
They had their shirt racks organized by the type of shirt you are looking for. One rack was completely full of polo shirts and button-downs. I looked through all of the shirts on display until I found the one I knew was right for me. On it is a bear holding a very dangerous looking gun (sorry, not a weapon buff). It reads, “Support the Right to Arm Bears.” Even greater than the shirt itself was the price. It was $3, much like the other shirts around it.
I then moved to the pants rack. The selection wasn’t as great as the shirts, but with a little looking I found a pair of jeans exactly my size. The brand wasn’t one I have ever heard of, but for only $2 I think I’m ok with that.
While I appreciate finding new clothes for only $5, I appreciate the people who make it possible even more. Checking out at the store, I noticed the cashier had a nametag which read “MCC Volunteer.” These volunteers only have the interests of others in mind. I hope everyone who shops at Et Cetera appreciates that too. The Et Cetera Shop is located in Newton on Main Street, in the heart of downtown.