(1) Value Village, which I knew from Seattle, and Savers (which R. probably pointed out to me when one opened in Nashua) are the same. And that chain is really enormous (they have a dozen stores in Massachusetts/RI/NH -- I was aware of _two_ of them). Yelp suggests that as Value Village is the default Thrift Store in Seattle, so Savers is around here.
(2) Value Village/Savers is a buyer from, well, everyone else. _Everyone_ else. So I missed a step in the value chain, which is Important.
(3) Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" spent several weeks at #1, which sort of suggests that a whole lot of people were connecting to the experience described in the song.
It makes sense to me that Thrifting belongs to the "sharing economy" that is AirBnB, ZipCar, RelayRides, Uber, blah, blah, bleeping blah.
SMART, a trade association for Secondary Materials, etc., has been bashing its head somewhat unsuccessfully against a tariff on imported used clothing. The tariff is on _new_ clothing, but the interpretation is that it's only "used" if it is falling apart. Used wearable clothing is subject to tariff just like new. So if you were ever looking for a reason why used clothing exits the US and doesn't enter, well, that could be a factor and the fact the trade association is fighting it suggests that the world might one day be Otherwise.
I'm now off on the unlikely to be successful mission to figure out the current state of automation in the industry. It seems crazy low, which is okay at first (especially for non-profits or even for-profits willing to work with governments and NGOs who are attempting to do job placement for people who have difficulty accessing the job market, supported employment type of thing), but you'll use up your cheap labor fast and then you'll have to automate or labor costs will limit your.
R., aka "B." also told me about the "dead man's clothing" euphemism, which is clearly real and quite widespread, altho I'm not entirely certain what the connotations of the phrase are when it is used, vs. when someone first hears about it.
Sample coverage suggesting that "dead man's clothing" is more about class than about ew ick someone died: http://www.arabnews.com/node/329159