Thrifting

Excuse the fact that this is going to be a complete drive by post. The weather up here is completely unbelievable, now as a native Chicagoan I expect fairly decent weather in early April in Chicago. However I no longer live in Chicago I live in Maine and generally speaking early April feels more like late winter than early spring but we are on the receiving end of some unseasonably warm weather. Yesterday was 76! 76 is something you see in August in Maine not April.

So with such weather, you just have to kick back, play a little hooky from work and go on an adventure…so today’s adventure was a trip to the new Goodwill that opened up a few towns over from me. This Goodwill is what I have taken to calling the Goodwill Emporium, it’s housed in a building that used to be home to Circuit City so as you can imagine it is fucking huge as far as thrift stores go.

I will be honest I wasn’t too impressed since such a huge thrift store brings out real die-hard thrifters and the casual folks.In other words it was packed and there is nothing worse than a packed thrift store. I spent a bit of time getting bummed that I could not find what I was in search for, some blouses and dresses from the 1960’s and early 1970’s…yes I do have a unique sense of style going on.

Anyway I was getting ready to call it a day when I decided to circle back over to the handbags, did I tell you I love purses? Seriously back when the Spousal Unit and I were living the good life in Chicago I was known to spend ridiculous sums on purses. Sadly, almost all the good bags all got sold on E-bay when we went broke save three bags  that I just could not part with due to sentimental reasons.

So I look around at the handbags several times examining them trying to see if anything looked good or if they were all junk, when I spot a unique little bag that someone has stashed away far on the back of the rack. I take it off and lo and behold its a Prada bag. I look it over quickly and as best as I can determine it’s the real deal and by the way it has no price on it…my heart was beating loudly since I had no idea if the workers would even sell me the bag since it had no tag on it or if they would recognize the label. Long story short, the clerk looked at the bag after determining there was no tag and asks “How about $4.99″…um, hell to the motherfucking yeah. Considering I have seen fricking Fossil bags at Goodwill priced for $14.99 getting a real Prada bag for $4.99 is a thrifting coup.

So dear reader as a dedicated thrifter I just had to share that bit of goodness with you…what deals have you recently scored?

Really it’s fun

So last night I was at home chilling with some friends celebrating getting another year older and the conversation turned to the economy. Long story short, everyone at the table is feeling the pinch these days. Gone are the days of spending money without a second thought, instead its all about pinching pennies and getting the most of what few shekels we still have left.

So when I brought up the fact that I planned to go check out my favorite consignment shop which is having its annual blowout sale, I didn’t think anything of it until my girl gave me a crazy look and said “You mean the clothes are used”. Um….yeah, the clothes are used. Granted this particular shop carries a mix of new, used and vintage stuff and is without a doubt my favorite place to shop.

Well it turns out my girl who is getting a fast and dirty lesson in being broke due to a nasty divorce and a soon to be ex-husband who has decided he doesn’t want to do the right thing, has never been to a thrift or consignment shop. In fact she was stunned to realize I rarely buy anything other than undies, socks, shoes, and accessories new. Well since it was my birthday, I was rocking my favorite skirt, a wool mini skirt picked up at Goodwill a few months ago for a mere $6. When I pointed out that my outfit was second-hand she was amazed…amazed enough that after I explained the difference between a thrift and consignment store that she said she would like to go with me soon when I go make the rounds.

Now, I am still a amatuer when it comes to thrifting compared to my Mom and others I know, but since 2007 when my cushy teaching gig went south, I have become a proficient thrifter. Things I have learned, are that the best times to thrift for me personally are when I don’t have any specific thing in mind. After months of searching high and low for a bread machine, I landed one at the local Goodwill for $4 when I wasn’t trying to find one and yes it works.

In my opinion, thrifting is officially in style these days and gone are the days when you need to feel bad about it, shit I can hit the Goodwill and spend $50 and everyone in the house gets something plus a trinket for the house. Now I take that same $50 to the mall and even with the deals that are being had due to the economy, I don’t make out so well.

Truth is thrifting has spoiled me, I rarely want to buy new anymore as evidenced by the fact that during the holidays I got a gift card and went to the mall thinking I would get a new outfit and honestly I didn’t like anything I saw. I am not paying $40 for a sweater that I can get for $5 or $10, sorry but that is crazy and even more crazy now that times are tough.

Look, I know when you grow up poor and you were forced to wear second hand stuff as a kid that you grow up and want nothing to do with used shit, but really unless you are making a lot of money, have some money saved and are doing well…buying new for the sake of buying new is silly. Plus the upside of buying used is that its good for the environment…really, I am not kidding you. I don’t know about you, but I hate the way new shit smells, nice and chemical like and sometimes even gives you a headache. Well that’s because that new sweater is off-gassing and that shit ain’t cool.

Check it out, maybe you wanna help the environment but money is tight, after all organic food costs 2 arms and a legs but you can buy used and buy local and help in your own way. So if you have never ventured down to the thrift store check it out, really its fun.