Have you ever tried to describe to someone why you love shopping antique malls, junk stores, thrift stores? Do you love rummaging basements while your friends think you’re nuts? It can be a tough passion to explain.
At St. Louis Antique Mall, we love supporting our fellow St. Louis vintage shoppers. Every single one of us started as collectors and thifters.
I have a theory about why vintage shopping is so much fun. And I have some reasons to try it if you’ve never done it.
The Ancient Roots of Digging for Treasures
Yuval Noah Harari wrote a fascinating million-year retrospective of our species, “Sapiens.” In this book, he describes the factors that can make modern life so rough for some of us.
In summary, we are descended from thousands of generations of people who were the best at finding things they needed to survive. These are the people who could find the fruit and vegetables faster than anyone else. They were able to collect food without being eaten, then had enough time left over to find a mate and raise children. Those children are us.
The impulse to find things that we like has been baked into our genetics. Each of us on earth today are quite literally descended from the best pickers and collectors among the billions of people that have existed on this planet.
What are the ramifications of this in modern life?
Collecting is an Enrichment Activity
Those of you who have pets know what happens if your furry friend isn’t allowed to do what it has been bred to do.
My retriever gets sad if I don’t let her play fetch.
My shih tzu needs to sit on a lap, and will paw at anyone’s leg who doesn’t instantly pick him up.
Cats need toys to “stalk” or they get depressed and overweight.
When our companions aren’t allowed to follow their natural impulses, they become ill-behaved – destroying furniture, dumping garbage cans, incessantly barking or whining.
Soooo…. what happens when we humans are not allowed to follow our genetics? What happens when the means of our survival is so easily provided? When we don’t need to hunt for food, gather sharp stones or bedding material for hours each day? What happens when we aren’t allowed to hunt and collect?
That’s right – we get grumpy and sad, and we feel out of place and vaguely dissatisfied – surrounded by riches our ancestors would have dreamed of.
Many of us try to fill this void with weekly shopping trips. We visit the grocery store and try a new ingredient, or go to Target for a single item and walk out with $150 spent on – stuff. We end up buying things that are poorly made by underpaid people in other countries that are shipped to us at vast fuel expense from around the world in huge container ships.
Or – we zone out in front of our phones, “hunting and gathering” funny memes and cat photos.
There is a better way to fulfill our natural desire to hunt and find things – one that supports local St. Louis businesses and contributes to the health of the environment rather than destroying it – vintage shopping.
Shop and Collect What You Want – It’s Good For You
My wife and I started seriously buying vintage when we got tired of replacing poorly-made overpriced furniture every 6 months. A quick FB marketplace purchase netted us a long-lasting piece with more visual appeal than anything we could find at a big box store – for a fraction of the price.
Of course, this was a win-win – someone got a bit of extra cash for furniture they were done with, we got something better than we could have afforded at the store, and we kept it out of the landfill.
As I’ve mentioned on our St. Louis Antique Mall website, we are passionate about vintage and antique collecting. We want to bring the joys of vintage and antique shopping to everyone in the St. Louis area.
And if you need an excuse to try it, here are a few bullet points about vintage shopping that might convince you:
Reasons to Buy Vintage
- Buying vintage clothing, furniture and home goods keeps them out of the landfill
- Vintage items are generally better-made than newer ones
- Antiques are fascinating. Learning their history increases your knowledge of the world and its history.
- Buying from St. Louis antique and vintage dealers supports local small business.
- Hunting for collectibles – vintage games, Funkos, coins, stamps, figurines, Star Wars, Star Trek, Smurfs, comic books, antique toys, etc., fulfills a drive that is baked into all of us. It improves our mental well-being.
- Buying items from St. Louis antique and vintage stores reduces the fuel cost of transporting items from around the world.
- If it exists – someone collects it. Form great connections with your fellow humans by finding people with similar interests.
Visit St. Louis Antique Mall
We hope that you come see us at our new location, 9715 St. Charles Rock Rd, once we reopen in mid August. After the soft opening, we plan on holding a grand opening in September – but we’ll be open to the public as soon as we can move our treasures into the new location.
If you have any special items that you’re hunting for, contact St. Louis Antique Mall and let us know what you need. We have hundreds of St. Louis antique and vintage collectors and vendors who are happy to keep an eye out for you.