“I’m gonna pop some tags. Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up. This is fucking awesome.”
Thrift Shops have their own holiday. That’s a thing, and today was their day. I’ll admit, this was a tough holiday to motivate for, but in the end, I’m glad I did. I like Thrift Shops. They are places where you find treasure. Not real treasure. You are not going to ever find that slightly used Monet for $5 that someone donated without knowing, but you will find things that you never knew you needed, and on the cheap too. They also have a real purpose especially for families that need clothes and household items and can’t always afford them. That’s an important thing to remember on this day. It’s easy to go there on a whim or to find something silly, but a lot of families are going there to put clothes on their children’s back. Just a good reminder about being grateful for what we have and mindful about those who are in need.
I was hoping our professional shopping expert Becky Breslin would accompany us today, but Thrift Shops aren’t really her thing so she bowed out with a promise to join us for National Target Day. Lola wasn’t that interested in going on this adventure either, so I would be by myself for this trip. With hope in my heart, I headed out the door with a crisp $20 bill in my pocket and the dream that I would find some great new treasure (or maybe a new suit – I happen to be in the market).
There was a time when I made a habit of going to a Thrift Shop any time I had a wedding to go to. I would go there and buy a really loud sports jacket – usually green (for whatever reason, people tend to get rid of bright green jackets) – then I’d wear it to the wedding. I’d have a new jacket for every wedding, it was a great conversation starter, and I could leave it on the back of my chair and not worry about forgetting it. It was foolproof, although for some reason, that plan seemed to go by the wayside once I had a “plus one” to bring along. It’s still a happy memory though and I’m glad to know that there are friends today that are showing their kids their wedding album and they have to answer the question, “Who is that guy in the green jacket?”
The closet thrift shop to me was the St. Paul’s Thrift Shop on Broadway in Newport which was a building I must have passed a hundred times before but never realized it was there. It has four or five rooms filled with items ranging from clothes to furniture to glasses. It actually had a nice little vibe in there. The clerk was friendly and singing songs. The stream of customers was steady, but never crowded. And while it was sparse in areas, it was presented nicely. They had huge selection of books and ample furniture. Their menswear selection was light, but they had multiple racks of clothes for the ladies. I searched around and there were a few things that peaked my interest, but I couldn’t really justify actually buying something that would just go to waste. I guess part of my celebration was also about being thrifty.
Google told me that the Salvation Army Thrift Shop was about a half-mile down the road, so I figured I might as well check that out too. They have an address listed as on Broadway, but the front entrance is actually on the side of a building that must be an elderly housing unit. I parked on Broadway and walked to the front of the housing unit where I saw a hand-drawn sign that said the thrift store was behind the building. I marched through the five or six elderly residents who were sitting in their wheelchairs in the front of the building catching some sun, and went around the corner which came out to a small parking lot and I saw the entrance to Salvation Army which was at the very end of the building. I was greeted right away by a very friendly clerk as I walked in. There was a room to the right filled with plates and dinnerware but most of the merchandise was to the left.
This was the kind of Thrift Shop that most people think of when they think of Thrift Shops. It was packed with stuff and the aisles were hard to navigate especially if there were more than one person walking down them at the same time. It had that Thrift Shop smell – a combination of old clothes and stale air. It was hot and a fan was whirring to cool it down (no air-conditioning). Plus everyone had little regard for each other’s personal space. There was one moment where I was looking at some records that were in a tiny little area, and a treasure hunter barreled in and took over the stack I was about to pick up. That put a damper on my buying experience. In the end, I came up empty here for any good finds too.
I can say I celebrated. I went to two Thrift Shops on this special day which means I was making the effort. Part of the Thrift Shop hunt is knowing when you have something special, but like a good poker player, you also have to know when to leave the table. I’ll be back another day to do some serious shopping (when is Becky’s birthday?) as I still love the promise of finding that treasure amidst a sea of mismatched merchandise.
Here are some pics of things I ALMOST bought. Lola would have loved it.
Tomorrow: National Ice Cream Pie Day