Monday, January 19, 2015

Answer Woman: Wedding dress recycling, gas below $2

Answer Nation, we've got a lot of wedding dresses, witchcraft and gas prices to talk about this week so there's just no time for joshing around. Onward to your burning questions, my smart-aleck responses and the real deal. Thanks for sending.

Question: It seems like even as gas prices drop dramatically, the $2 per gallon mark is as low as it ever goes. I haven't been able to find gas for under $2 anywhere in Asheville, and I wonder if there is something magic and mystical about that $2 mark that won't allow it to drop below that. Will we ever see $2 gas?

My answer: Yes, I'm afraid there is gas price witchcraft at play. Brought to you by the same coven who orchestrates such mysteries as "global warming" and Asheville best-of lists.

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Real answer: Throw a little salt over your shoulder because the mystical time has come: Asheville is already seeing some sub-$2 per gallon gas.

The Fast Break on Emma Road had gas for $1.99 on Friday, according to (run by

Crude oil's global collapse has pushed the national average U.S. price for gasoline below $2 a gallon for the first time since early 2009 in several cities, now including Asheville.

Nationally, regular unleaded gasoline currently averages about $2.12 a gallon, down 46 cents from just four weeks ago and $1.01 cheaper than year-ago levels.

There is no magic mark at $2, but most gas stations in Asheville are still charging $2.15 or more. Experts say the price drop may not have run its course yet, so look for more magical prices soon.

Question: What can I do with my wedding dress? It's been a little more than six years since we got married and I think I'm not going to be wearing it again. I don't want to do anything sentimental with the fabric, but it seems like a missed opportunity to just drop it off in wrinkly Gap bags with my other gently used (and also slightly wrinkled) clothes at the Goodwill. Is there some sort of local charity that needs wedding gowns? Is there a performance group who needs my lace gown? Or some sort of consignment shop that specializes in used wedding attire?

My answer: Without Googling this, I would bet my car there is a reality show somewhere who wants to talk to you.

Real answer: There aren't any local organized options I could find that will direct your dress to someone in need, but there are a lot of options to use them for good.

Locally, wrinkly Gap-bag vendors like the Salvation Army and Goodwill will not only take dresses to put on the racks, but can sell them off at auction to make much more than the $5 dress cost. Be sure to give them an idea of what the dress might be worth, and that option is tax deductible.

There are also a few national organizations that will take dresses by mail and either sell them for money that goes to charity or donate them directly to women in need.

Brides Across America donates gowns to military brides in need.

Brides Against Breast Cancer is another nonprofit that puts dresses up for sale in a "Nationwide Tour of Gowns," from which sales benefit programs for cancer patients and their families.

Wish Upon a Wedding, a nonprofit organization dedicated to granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering situations, also accepts dresses.

Local churches sometimes hold auctions for wedding dresses, and they're a great resource to connect you with someone in the congregation who might be in need.

As for consignment, Asheville doesn't have a bridal-specific consignment shop that I've found, but shops like Clothes Encounters and others definitely take wedding dresses. According to the shop's website, one dress has made it back five times.

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