Monday, November 26, 2007

other people's old stuff

And now for something completely different, because I don't write/think/drone on and on about the Captain of the Consumer Debt and Plastic Crap Club all the time (that was an insensitive kris kringle reference, if you're not keeping up, ha!): I went to a new thrift store the other day.

I've been defaulting to the local goodwill for all my secondhand needs. The cheap prices of Arizona goodwills turned my occasional habit into a fast and full blown addiction. All of the goodwills in The Valley of the Sun are half price every other Saturday. Yeah, the whole store is half off. Twice a month. I had to augment those extra discount days with quick stops in-between, but those two Saturdays a month mostly kept me satiated. Every time I go to the thrift store, I make my family sit down for the Big Reveal, wherein I pull each item out of the bag, one by one by one. In Arizona, I'd come home with so much (for so cheap!) that this could be a lengthy activity.

But goodwills are more expensive here. I live too far now from the goodwill outlet ("the bins") in Portland I made a part of my weekly routine years ago. I've still been going to the one in my town, and I've made a few good finds, but I always leave feeling a little disappointed. I spend too much and get too little. I value it as a therapeutic activity all on its own, though. I can sing along to the songs and totally lose myself in the repetitive motion of moving clothes, piece by piece, along the rack or walking so slowly down an overcrowded housewares aisle so as to see everything. Nobody needs me, nothing more is required of me, I exist entirely in the moment of looking for something useful in someone else's discarded junk.

Goodwill is an easy choice because it's open late. I can feed the family dinner and head out, knowing the husband is here for bath and pajama duty. Since we moved here, I've noticed another thrift store, a St. Vincent de Paul, which is closer to my home but never appears to be open. I got there at 3 and they close at 4; barely enough time but I enjoyed it anyway.

It's the sort of store with handwritten price stickers on everything and little signs in shaky old lady handwriting, labeling different categories. The sort of store that gives away a free coffee cup with every purchase. The sort of store so jumbled and busy you just know it's full of treasures. I am itchy to get back there soon.

Owing to the limited time, I skipped grown-up clothes, made a quick pass through little kid clothes (and picked up a handful of long-sleeved shirts for my boy who's still wearing his Arizona wardrobe), children's books (of course!), and housewares. And came home with (among other things, which have already been spirited away or put into use, these few were still sitting out and waiting to have their picture taken or something):

thanks, st. vincent de paul

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I'm jealous of you and all the other people I know who find great stuff at thrift stores, because I don't have that great of luck when I hit them.