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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thrift Store Culture

Thrift Stores attract a variety of interesting people, all of which are looking for that great deal or special bargain. You may find the person looking for that one vintage piece, like the man asking the cashier, “Do you have any guitars right now?”

There’s the man (a different man) in railroad overalls who’s looking for tools, or the lady in need of a folding desk, the kind her grandmother owned.

I can always tell a first-timer, usually a young someone with the look of shock and amazement on her face, holding a pair of designer jeans she just found. Then, there’s the person whose cart is full of junk. No matter how I look at it, I can’t imagine what they are going to do with a stained old ottoman, a broken ceiling fan and a water-marked portrait of Weird Al.

There are book junkies, old record collectors and jewelry must-haves.

I’m a stereo-type too: the girl who buys tons of clothing. I always get a comment from someone.

“My, you must have a big family!”
“Wow! You found some great stuff.”

And when the cashier rings me up and I owe her $23.00 for 6 stuffed bags of clothing, I usually get more comments about the great bargains I’ve found.

I’ve become so accustomed to the incredible value of thrift store shopping; I find it difficult to shop retail. Here’s why.

At a thrift store, I get to indulge when ever; however. Most days, I can purchase anything I want and anything I find:

a) because it’s priced many times cheaper then retail
b) because it’s a one of a kind; unique or unusual
c) because for $1.99, I can decide what to do with it later

Shopping retail means being more selective, going over my budget and rationalizing the money I’m about to spend is worth it.

I am friendly with most thrift store employees. Many ask how the pregnancy’s going or how the boys are. Thrift store employees aren’t allowed to shop at the store they work at. Talk about torture!

This weekend, I browsed at a few thrift stores in Sedona.

I found several books for the boys and a few collectables for me. There isn’t the selection of a Phoenix store, but it’s quaint and I know there’s something worth searching for on these racks. Small towns don’t celebrate dollar days, but the prices are usually reasonably, meaning I can purchase what I want.

The counselor finds something to read and a nice chair to sit in while I shop. Ah, yes, another part of thrift store culture: the husband waiting patiently for his wife while he reads a 1980’s edition of Arizona Highways. Thanks, honey!


  1. I think that is exactly why I enjoy the thrift store. I get to "indulge" and be guilt-free. It's also easier to rationalize a $30 purchase where you buy 12 items, as opposed to just one item!

  2. I'm a fairly new Dollar Days addict myself and just found your site through a friend. LOVED the comment about hubby indulging on an old chair, reading oudated magazines! Very fun!!! Great blog :)

  3. my sons reminded me that they used to thrift shop back in college. money was tight for them then and some friends took them to a local goodwill. i never would have thought of going there myself.