Fear of the Nasties Creeps Closer

When I did my food coop shift Monday night, I noticed that 2 swap events on their events board were canceled. The only 2 swaps listed. I thought that was a little weird. Household goods and clothing. Then a light bulb went off - they were canceled due to a fear of bedbugs. (A quick question to staff confirmed this.)

The NYT has recently echoed the fear of getting bedbugs from thrift stores, flea markets or resale places. Yep, you sure can. [But please see my previous post re how to avoid getting bedbugs from used clothing!] We've also recently learned that you can get them from new retail...or going to the movies.

I know I've always had a fear of the BB. Maybe even an irrational fear. But the arc of Bedbug Panic makes me wonder how this will all play out for the purchasing-cycle of "pre-loved" items. Will people stop buying previously-owned items?

Will we see a decrease in purchases of used items at a time when people are so interested in purchasing that very thing (it's eco-conscious, cheap, etc.)? Will large swap events start having a hard time finding places to host them? Will be start seeing only smaller closed-circuit swaps?


  1. This is sad. Why is the BB unleashed upon us. A friend emailed me some NYC articles about BB (he lives in Bedstuy) where we will be viting in fall. I'm toats Mcgoats scared that we'll pick up BB's from the B&B we're staying at (also in BedStuy)and transport them home. Yes SF has it's BB problem too, but I don't think it's anywhere near as bad!

    It's sad the swaps were canceled. You do bring up a good point - how will this effect thrifting and such? (Though even new retail and going out to anywhere that has upholstry can subject you to the BB)It may be that re-sale places take a hit.

  2. There have been bedbugs in so many NYC retail stores, too. I don't think you can really avoid them entirely unless you buy new stuff online, which is obviously even more environmentally problematic, and even then, there are no guarantees.

  3. @ Suzz - While I do know a lot of people who've had BB here, it's by no means even 50% at this point. So, it's bad but not quite as bad as they make it seem.

    @ Sarah - I agree!

  4. I was wondering how the NYC area thrift stores were dealing with this, and was asking the same question you are. I'm noticing a lot of articles (esp. in the Times) about the effects of the problem on various professionals whose job it is to visit homes. I was curious about the secondhand market, too. So far I've seen nothing on that topic.


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