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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thrift Store Culture - Part III: Golf Ball Mobile Wind Chime

I was at the thrift store last week and saw a golf ball mobile wind chime dangling off the end of a clothing rack.  I didn't have my camera, but let me try my best to explain.
We all know what a wind chimes looks like.
We all know what a baby mobile is.
We all know what a golf ball is for.

Now, imagine them sort've hand-made, tied and contorted to create a piece of beauty all its own.
When I saw this extraordinary piece of art, I knew it was time to write another chapter of
Thrift Store Culture.
I love thrift store people.  We make an interesting bunch; taking risks, going with the punches and digging through some pretty interesting stuff to find the good trash.
           I was out thrifting and took a moment to sit in rocking corduroy vintage love seat (priced at $49.99, if it was a little cheaper, I’ve might have been tempted to bring it home) to nurse the little girl.  On a side note, I don’t mind nursing in public as long as I have a nursing cover.  I’m a momma on the go.  I have to be willing to just go with the flow or this parenting thing would be a lot of stress.  I pull out my nursing cover and get the little princess situated.  Reef sits next to me with a book he’s found.  A lady’s in the store offers me a halfway smile while I enjoy some cuddle time with the kids.  At first I think her attention is because my kids are  just too adorable, but then I realize maybe the .02 cent smile is because she’s appalled I’m nursing in public.  As she walks by, she reeks of coffee breath that I can smell from across the aisle. 
I’m not the only one shopping with children.  Since the dressing rooms are full, a mother of several little kids pulls shirts off and on each one (over their clothing), making sure the clothes are going to fit.  She’s shopping with a few other family members as well.  The ladies pull sweaters, skirts and shirt off and on over their clothing.  It’s obvious they don’t have much.  They’re the type of family I’d like to buy all their items for.  I almost do, but I don’t want to embarrass them.
A woman looking like Jane Fonda walks by me and bosses her husband to follow.  Her raspy voice directs him to the other side of the store.  I can hear her barking orders while he follows like a little puppy.  He looks like the relationship has worn him out; head down, hands in pocket and permanent frown wrinkles on his face.  Maybe he should’ve insisted on staying home while she went shopping.  I think he’d be better off.  It’s a common known fact that men don’t enjoy the gathering experience of shopping as much as us women.  I think this guy would rather be hunting bears then looking over knick knacks in an old thrift store.
In the shirt section, the cutest grandma’s complete each others sentences.  I think they’re best friend forever.  Both have gray hair, but their giggling like school girls.
“Oh, what a beautiful blouse.  Won’t you look lovely in that,” one of the lady’s says to her BFF as she holds up a pink cotton ruffle shirt. 
The cashier speaks into the intercom with the voice of a nighttime D.J., reminding shoppers it’s dollar day.  The BFF’s looked at each other and giggle.
“Good gracious, a dollar.  Let’s see what else we can find,” and they walk side by side, pushing their shared cart down the aisle.
On dollar day, carts are sparse.  I’m into the habit of bringing in my double stroller for my babies.  Eden's propped up in a baby Bjorn while  Reef sits in the front of the stroller.  I use the back seat for my  finds.  It quickly fills with all sorts of clothing; a pair of American Eagle trouser jeans, a Fresh Produce beach dress, a pink Gap hoodie sweater, etc.  The stroller quickly becomes too heavy to maneuver easily.  With a full double stroller, I look like I’m trying to steer a semi-truck.  Reef insists on using the bathroom while we’re in the store.  I’m in a catch 22.  I can’t bring unpaid merchandise into the bathroom (not like the stroller would fit anyway), but if I leave the stroller out here someone might think it’s for sale and take it.  I recognize a woman I’ve seen shopping from weeks past and ask if she’d watch the stroller for me.  It’s worth making friends at the thrift store.
My kid’s and I have so much fun when we’re out.  I know Eden and Reef enjoy it too.  Eden and I tote around and she’s just as happy as, well, as a baby shopping dollar day with her thrift store-obsessed momma.  I call her my silent shopper because she’s silent while we’re shopping.  She’s so engaged, smiling at shoppers, cooing on prompt, like when we find Eileen Fisher jackets (which I found 2 of) or Flax skirts (found 3 of those).  She’s such a chill baby.
As long as I have a snack and sippy for Reef, he’s good to go.  We always find something for him to play with; a musical book, a light-up toy or a truck.  He talks about the things he sees.  I think it’s good for him to see so much diversity.
The store is decorated with used Christmas items, many of which are broke, old or freaky.  A large pottery glass Santa is propped up on a wire spring, flopping to and fro as people walk by.  Both of Santa’s hands are broken off.  No wonder this piece of Christmas joy hasn’t sold. Not only is Santa disabled, but he’s priced at $4.99.
Several used Christmas trees stand proudly on display, hoping to be purchased and used for another season.  They’re decorated with interesting ornaments.  It’s like the misfit trees, with odd mis-matched ornaments nobody wants.  Reef picks up a Snoopy stuffed animal sitting on the display in front of him.  Snoopy’s cute, wearing his Santa hat, but I quickly realize it’s a dog chew toy.  I place Snoopy back on the shelf next to a vintage snow globe.  Oh, that’s broken too, not because the glass is broken, but because there's no water in it.  I quickly distract Reef with a packet of fruit snacks and it’s a smooth transition back to the clothing racks. 
I find almost 50 articles of clothing to resell on eBay and I’ve had a nice time with my kids.  I stand in the line furthest away from the Cheeto display and look through my merchandise.  I check zippers, look for stains and make sure all the buttons are there.  Eden’s little fingers grab at everything I’m holding.  A pair of Hot Cotton pants I’ve picked look a little too faded for resale.  Begrudgingly, I put them on the hanging rack next to me. It is at this moment, that I bump into a golf ball wind chime mobile.  Reef reaches for it and I know what he’s thinking.
He plays with it while I pay the cashier.  Eden’s eyes grow bigger every time it chimes and by the time we leave, Reef’s lost interest in it.  I’m sure some lucky shopper will go home with it.  

To read Thrift Store Culture I, click here.
To read Thrift Store Culture II, click here.
Linking up to:


  1. Great Post!
    I love op-shops and the range of people in them.

  2. This sounds like very many of my thrifting experiences!

  3. Ya'll have amazing thrift stores. Here in Ventura, Ca. I can hit 4 thrift stores within 2 blocks yet, not one has a bathroom, a fitting room or any dollar days. Somehow I feel a bit cheated at the moment.
    ( =

  4. If you have a customer who is really rude, can you just cancel the transaction and give them a refund? What are my rights as a seller? I already know I will prob be getting negative feedback from them and I no longer want to deal with the rudeness. I noted in my listing I would be out of town from November 27- December 7. The customer is upset that I have not shipped her item until I was going to today, and she was really rude, but now I don't even want her business. What do i do?

  5. From Anonymous with Dr Seuss Kids table and chairs/ CL advice: Wow, you can really see the writer in you in this post. Wonderful descriptions. Thank you for posting the entry on my question about Craigslist, I appreciate yours and your readers advice. Now I just have to pay heed and list it.

  6. We can make bamboo wind chimes in our home.The sound waves up and gently trade winds.

  7. We are taking care new golf clubs, balls, bags, and some accessories.Not only new one, we have
    some used ones.

    golf Shop
    golf Store
    golf product
    american golf clubs
    discount golf clubs