The French expression gagnant-gagnant (gan-yahn gan-yahn) means “win-win.” A big gagnant-gagnant for me is being paid to be in Paris during the summer sales! As I’ve mentioned, this year my gagnant-gagnant will be being paid to explore a new part of the world, which is then just a short hop to Paris – still in time for the summer sales. I don’t want to buy much, just a few pieces to fill in a some gaps in my wardrobe. Quality over quantity is a very French way to dress.
I have developed an odd way of packing that makes room in my suitcase for my purchases. For years, I have taken gently-worn clothing to a thrift shop. I’ve learned, however, that about half of what I, or anyone else donates, ends up in a landfill or ground up for products such as insulation or carpet pads. Americans now buy five-times more clothing than they used to. Charitable organizations receive more clothing donations than they can possibly use. They keep only the very best, and discard the rest. Donations were a way of making me feel good, but they didn’t really accomplish much in terms of helping others.
Now, if clothing is from a high-end label and like new, I sell it on eBay. If it’s less than perfect, I set it aside for my trips and leave it behind when I’m returning. It’s a gagnant-gagnant situation. I come back with luggage that’s lighter than when I left, I pass on what is still good to others who can use it, and the rest is disposed of as responsibly as I can.