Thrift Score

I’m not a shopper. The idea of shopping as a hobby of sorts doesn’t appeal to me in the least. I much rather be making bread, knitting, reading, digging in the dirt, or participating in any of my other interests, really!*  I also love to take a day away from home to visit a museum or neat place and wander, but to willfully leave the house on a day off for shopping? Nah.

BUT.

Sometimes the stars are aligned, the moon is blue, there is cash in my pocket, and I have a spare half hour before I need to do something or be somewhere — and my thoughts turn to thrifting.

Last week, I had two occasions where I found myself on the Main Street of my town during business hours.  My town is only about a mile big in total but we have two thrifts! One is the cool one — it explicitly advertises itself as thrift and vintage “resale,” has fun and colorful displays, and throws little parties. It’s a good place — it also chooses a charity each month and 2% of all gross sales from the store are sent over. The other thrift is dedicated to one social agency, and provides money for their programs and work experience. It’s significantly lower priced, but still has plenty of vintage items and magic. I love them both!

I was walking home on the evening that my husband was getting in from one of his business trips, and the larder was bare. I decided to get us the lovely salads one of the restaurants make — easy to keep fresh against the flight delays and traffic travel always includes. I passed by the Cool Thrift, and realized it was open for a half hour more. I poked my head in — so many pretty things! So much selection! It was like going to any boutique and shopping for your choice of clothing.

Since I didn’t have much time, I went straight for the dresses. Lo and behold a beaut was waiting for me! 14.99 USD!  I loved the colors.

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I asked if I could try it on real quick over my clothes and the shop owner said “of course!” It was a little big, but that meant it would be comfortable. Sold! (When I got home, I looked up the charity for the month, and it was our local food pantry. Excellent.)

On my way to get the salads, I had the bonus experience of walking by the library which had set out free books! I picked out two, then on the stoop of another person’s house there were more free books and I picked up three. Williams Burroughs, Henry Miller, Anne Patchett, a breadmaking book, and a vintage cookbook. Someone must have sprinkled thrifty fairy dust on me that day!

My next thrifting opportunity was on the day of my Jury Duty.  They let us out early! Yay! I knew the Inexpensive Thrift closed at 4:30 and I’m usually at work at 4:30 — it was probably the only opportunity I’d get to shop there without making a trip there specifically.  My carpe diem-ing was rewarded by finding this really smart suit — $10 USD!  I love pinstripes, and knew I could break it up and wear the jacket with a dress and the skirt with a variety of tops to make it more casual, and then of  course wear it all together when appropriate. Imagine my surprise when I saw the original tags still on it — for $290 USD!  I had to ask the person working if they mispriced the suit! But no — he said suits on that rack are always $10 no matter what. WOW.

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I also got six heartbreakingly beautiful vintage napkins for $3 USD total. I love vintage linens that have handwork on them, and these were in great condition. I find them so bittersweet. Who made them? Whose table did they grace, and for what meals? How did they end up in the thrift shop? Ah!

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Bonus: I also saw a heron near the lake in the park in the middle of my town on my walk home!

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That’s a whole lotta fun, do-gooding, and no coupon-ing for $28 USD!!  Gosh, isn’t this better in every way than buying fast fashion or going to The Mall!!?! 🙂

As I used to say as a teenager (ok, ok, I still say it now) THRIFT SCORE!

*I will note that an exception is shopping for our food. In just this past week, I visited Whole Foods, the Farmers’ Market, the cheesemonger’s, and two wine shops — and I enjoyed every minute of it!

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4 comments

  1. Thrift shops (or as we call them over here, charity shops) are the best. Many of my books and clothes come from there, plus all sorts of little trinkets and nick-nacks. I love a bargain! Plus several times recently thre has been a heron in our street (and we’re reasonably built up!) – how weird is that?!

  2. What a score that suit is! I’ve not had much luck with charity shops in my part of London. They are generally stocked with very poor recent items rather than well-made or vintage ones. Trawling through the local charity shops actually highlights a lot of what’s wrong with the fashion industry in recent years: poor quality fabrics, badly constructed clothes, a lack of care and maintenance for garments as it is ‘cheaper’ to buy new… The pickings are probably better in swankier parts of London but where I am, it is not even worth buying items to cut up for the fabric.

    1. The thrifts were veering toward that in Philadelphia before I moved. I hear the thrifts two towns over from me are spectacular but I’ve not been motivated to actually get on the train to go shopping! Maybe if I had a special occasion to buy a dress for I might. I also feel a touch disloyal to go outside my town when I know shopping at my local shops bring good things to my community.

      On that note – I’m thrilled to hear our town is getting a grocer who will be mostly organic and locally sourced. Can’t wait for it to open. I have dreams of stepping off the train and buying that evening’s veggies!

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