Salvation Army Revise

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Ryan Donnelly Prof. Nicole Williams Writing 102 2/7/2011

The Salvation Army Although I am not familiar with the culture of the Salvation Army, I have experienced it. I have been shopping there a couple of times; both resulting in awesome clothes and awesome experiences. In the few times that I have visited, I felt welcomed and at ease. The environment was peaceful and laidback along with the people there. Everyone was going about their business, shopping and such. Upon entry we were greeted with a smile and a friendly hello. Going about our shopping we were typical teenagers, playing with the toys and finding ridiculous clothes. When we found a purse that was unique to say the least and were debating whether to buy it or not, a woman overheard our conversation and helped us decide. She was very cheerful and was shopping with her two sons. Some of the other people we saw were less talkative and were just interested in their shopping, and others were just plain odd. Overall it was a fun trip and I am planning another one soon. Over the next few weeks I will be investigating the culture and inner-workings of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I picked this location because the store itself interests me; there is an endless assortment of whatever you may or may not need. The raw idea of such a variety draws in people of all different backgrounds, each bringing a small aspect of their culture to the greater picture. What I have seen on my few trips to the store has painted a picture to help in

understanding the underlying culture. The people that I have seen shopping display themselves as lower to middle class. My thoughts are that higher class people feel degraded by shopping there and buying used clothes, instead they buy things brand new. However, there is no doubt in my mind that these people that I see have much more genuine of a personality and more character than the richer people. I believe that I fit into this culture quite well. I know that there are far more possibilities and styles to look for shopping here as opposed to in Wal-Mart. Not only is the selection superior, but the prices are as well; it costs anywhere from $1-$5 for a shirt that might cost $20 at a retail store. And I haven t even mentioned what you are supporting when you pay for these. At Wal-Mart or any other major chain store all you are doing is further supporting the inhumane ways to lower prices as well as forming monopolies. The Salvation Army actually does well with the profit it makes. Their profits go to support missing persons, disaster relief, prisoner rehabilitation, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and fighting of human trafficking. My family is of lower-middle class status; so like many others, try to save money where possible. The Salvation Army sells whatever you need at prices that you are more than happy to pay, and you can feel good while doing it. Some people are scared by the idea of wearing

something that someone else once did. Growing up as the younger child in the family, I always got hand-me-downs to wear and thought nothing of it. My family also periodically donated clothing. I m not saying I would wear anything in that store, but the majority of it is within reason. Another reason that I chose The Salvation Army as a place to research is because I feel like the people there are going to be more than friendly to talk to. The last time I was there I was browsing the odds and ends section and a lady came up and struck up a conversation about one of the items that I was looking at, saying she had something like that once. With the atmosphere and organization (or lack thereof), it isn t the kind of place that someone would rush in and out of. This gives me a good chance at interviewing people because they will have plenty of time to spare. I want to answer questions such as if it is someone s first time shopping here, or if they are a returning customer. If they are a regular I want to know what keeps bringing them back. I think this group of people will be willing to go further into their lives than more uptight people. Once I get into a conversation with someone I am going to ask things like what they do for work and how much they make. Similarly, I also want to ask if they have a family and how many people are in it.

I chose The Salvation Army in particular because not only is it a popular place to buy good clothing at affordable prices, but it is also a gravitational center for people of this culture. It is located only 5 minutes off campus and will be an enjoyable place to visit for research purposes. I also figured that in the time I spend there I will find some cool clothes to buy seeing as I need some.

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