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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fantasies of the Frugal: Thrift Shopping

Since I've already revealed a dream I had about student loans, I might as well get into my fantasy life. There are two fantasies that thrift shoppers share; I've experienced one, but the second so far is unrealized.

The one I have not yet experienced: the virgin thrift store. A virgin thrift store is a new thrift store. You don't have to slog through racks of stuff that's been there for weeks. Every single thing is new and unseen. A new Goodwill opened today, just a few miles away, but with the potential for traffic jams en route. This store has been much-anticipated, with the excitement fueled by employees (They're taking all the good stuff to the new store) and customers.

I ended up not going, because the weather was bad. Thank heavens, I am just not that hungry for bargains any more. I ran into a fellow Goodwiller who had gone: she said it was overpriced and the lines were long.

The new Goodwill, by the way, did not open in a spot designed to serve the community of the needy. The woman I spoke to is a member of the rather large underclass that inhabits my town. The new shop faces one of the high prestige gated communities in the more affluent next town. Rumor had it that the location was designed to get better donations and take away the donations from the new Habitat for Humanity that also moved one town over. Who knows?

The second Frugal Fantasy actually happened. Related to the virgin thrift store fantasy is the ability to "go in the back" and see the new stuff. Thrift shoppers grouse about the "dealers" who may or may not have first access. (This is true: a book dealer prices books for Friends of the Library sales here and there are other similar abuses.)

Anyway, here is my fantasy come true. When I got my first teaching job--which seemed miraculous--I went for a last time to my favorite thrift store: The Opportunity Shop in Bloomington, Indiana (I hope it is still there). I told one of the nice ladies that I was moving to Texas for a year. She said, "Oh, then you'll have to come in the back."

I emerged with armloads of treasures. My thrift store pals were agog at my good fortune. They weren't jealous though. They knew I wasn't going to be around anymore.

Do you have any frugal fantasies?


Duchesse said...

I have a GF whose daughter sorted for Goodwill. She was paid $40 a day by a hip downtown vintage clothing dealer to scoop the good stuff.

I prefer consignment stores- know one that isn't overpriced. I pay more but find the women's wear at local thrifts stuffed with cheap interlock anyway. Best thrifts I've ever been in were in Naples FL, where my mother lived. You want a place where affluent elders spend their last years. Perfect Pringle cashmere cardigan, $3.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Our local Hospice Thrift shop is staffed by volunteers, the donations run from cashmere cardigans to handmade leather shoes, vintage bags and quality jewels...for the high end stock they have a silent auction where customers bid against each other the highest $$ by close off at the end of the week all goes to a good cause...I have the same fantasy of the virgin thrift shop!!
I have scored some real bargains there and so has my daughter. Dealers go too but are treated the same as anyone else...

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--The store should have paid her a lot more than that! I went to some thrifts when I visited FL--they were expensive. Nice stuff though/

@Hostess--Ooh. Wish I could visit.

Shelley said...

I'd settle for one that had all the petite clothes in one section...

Duchesse said...

They didn't pay her, she bought the sweater! Mom loved thrifts but Dad wouldn't let her go. He thought they were for people in need- never got the "sport" side of thrifting. So after he died, she went to them all the time.

She also cut loose on other things he forbade: she ate dinner before 8 pm., watched Lawrence Welk reruns and drank wine with her girlfriends, rather than whiskey.

urvi said...

Very informative post. According to me if we know what to buy when, by timing our shopping perfectly we can save huge amount of money. It’s really something that we need to pay more attention to in order to find those bargains! For more information refer Frugal shopping tips