Reverse Snobbery

By , April 2, 2017

For years, I’ve noticed an odd effect of shopping secondhand. The upshot of the effect may be that I have become a reverse snob.

I don’t find this discovery surprising in the least. I’ve long known, and even acknowledged, that I can be an incredible snob in many areas of life. Anything about which I’m enthusiastic enough to champion can become a point of snobbery for me. Since I’m very enthusiastic about shopping secondhand, it follows that I get snobby about it.

The reverse snobbery comes down to brand names.

Branding seems to me a poor way of choosing products, in general. Successful branding usually indicates more care and cash invested in marketing than quality of product. People all too often flock to buy what’s popular, rather than what’s high quality.

However, there are exceptions. Sometimes, a particular brand actually indicates high quality: superior materials, construction, and/or design.

This makes certain secondhand purchases quite valuable. My best example would be the rare instances when I’ve found new Carhartt’s® work clothing (see In Praise of Secondhand Stores).

Here’s where the reverse snobbery became an issue, albeit a minor one: I found a couple of nice aprons in the style I prefer, at our local secondhand store.

Recently, I’ve learned the value of a good apron around the house, not just for cooking, but for other projects. In fact, Aly made me a beautiful apron for Christmas a few years ago, which has sadly become pocked by battery acid splashes. This, and a desire for a homemade, or home augmented Christmas apron, made me grab these two aprons, one of which was red, the other green.

They have proved very useful, being well designed, sturdily made, and, although dead cheap, almost brand new (other than one being somewhat faded). They also bear a prominent tag on the front, displaying the name of a well-regarded, high end culinary supply company.

Therein lies my dilemma, and the indictment of reverse snobbery. I have no practical need for the label. I have no wish to advertise the supply company, nor would I wish to give the impression that I bought these aprons for full price. Do I go to the effort to remove the labels, or do I ignore them and get on with the cooking? The latter probably indicates self assurance. The former probably indicates that I am, indeed, a reverse snob.

As you read this, “the jury” continues to deliberate . . . .

2 Responses to “Reverse Snobbery”

  1. Robin says:

    This member of the jury has things that are truly important to think about and doesn’t care if there are naked flying monkeys riding unicorns on your clothes. Which of course leads to a question that begs to be answered: why are flying monkeys riding unicorns when they could be flying? THOSE are the important things I think about. 😉

    Seriously this time – if people are concerned with what you’re wearing that’s their problem, not yours.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Funny, Robin! Actually, I guess I’m more focused on what I think about it than others, since 1) others rarely, if ever, see me and 2) if they did, it’s doubtful they’d notice what I’m wearing. I’d meant to go into that in the post, but it was getting too long as it was. I almost didn’t post the essay, since it’s so unlikely anyone outside the family (who have heard ALL ABOUT where I got the aprons, and how little I paid for them) will see me wearing them. I try to be relevant, but sometimes, it’s those insignificant things that weigh on my mind.

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