We live in a society where everything is tradable. There is a marketplace for everything, from sneakers to cameras, pens to watches to clothes. A house is not a home but a cashable asset to be listed on Zillow. It is no surprise why everyone focuses on resale or whatever they own. It also explains why NFTs became such a phenomenon — they were not for ownership, but the original intent was to buy and flip. Resale is just a weird word. Ben Brooks sums it up nicely:
Resale is a really weird thing to focus on when you buy something. It makes the item less enjoyable, as you can’t help but worry about keeping its resale value up. Like a garage full of collector cars which are never driven, and only started every so often to keep them running. It’s sad, and it’s not ownership.
I own two Leica cameras. I use them as often as possible. They have gone with me to both ends of the planet. There are some dings. The paint has chipped in places. It is difficult for me to imagine selling them anytime. Some day they will become outdated. And in the future, they will stop working. And even then, I would keep them — as a memento of trips taken and images captured. The same goes for my fountain pens and favorite watch — I use them every day, just as I try to get the most value out of my favorite things.
Resale is shorthand for not knowing the true joy of ownership.
The post elicited responses from folks via messaging apps. I took all their inputs and put them into GPT4 to create a meta-comment. These are not my words, but I edited them into shape to publish. Again, what you read below is AI-assisted content.
Resale and trading cultures are spreading mostly because of the increasing accessibility of online marketplaces, and the growing number of niche communities on Facebook Groups, Facebook Marketplace, Reddit, and Discord. It has been enabled by the ease of buying and selling goods using new technologies. The rise of social media and influencer marketing has increased interest in fashion and collectibles, making these items attractive to investors and casual traders alike.
However, the primary driving force behind the rise of resale culture is the pressing need for additional income. In a society grappling with soaring costs of living, the explosion of resale culture seems not just unavoidable but also logical. As economies worldwide took a hit due to the pandemic, many people need to supplement their earnings to afford the basics.
Just as driving for ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Lyft has become a go-to side hustle for many, so has reselling items. Resale isn’t just a survival strategy but a savvy financial move. By increasing their “income surface area,” individuals can tap into multiple income streams.
Of course, the Internet has democratized trading, a practice as old as civilization. Trading (and reselling) are more accessible and spread evenly across different socioeconomic classes. From high-end designer clothing to refurbished electronics, the online resale market caters to a wide range of tastes and budgets. Once limited to physical storefronts or local garage sales, selling and trading goods has permeated the digital realm, breaking geographical barriers and opening up global markets.