The Joys of Thrifting

October 25, 2012 — 27 Comments

Hey err’body!

… I thought maybe I could get away with typing “err’body” since I definitely can’t get away with saying it. Turns out I was wrong and can pull off neither. “Err’body” will instead be relegated to the pile of things I can’t pull off, like crop tops and lycra. But I make up for my failure in pulling things off by putting things on. And today, I put on yet another groovy find from the Salvation Army line of sweet tunic treats for under $11. I think I’m pulling it off?

While I could devote a couple hundred words to my pretty new tunic (and my handy new purse that was secured in the same haul with built-in card space), I thought I would instead share a little about the process in which these two new pieces came to be mine. I’ve given many’a post to the perks of thrift finds, so it’s high time to give some love to the thrift search.  There are all sorts of little things about my thrift trips that make it consistently pleasant experience, even when I strike out. So, thrift store, why else do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

The employees | Question: Is there anything, anything, worse than some poor soul creeping outside your change room, desperately trying to make her commission by telling you “Naw girl, the buttons are supposed to look like they’re about to snap!”? Answer: Yes, there are a few things worse, like charley horses and getting water up your nose, but pushy sales people are pretty bad too. But at the thrift store, none of the sales peeps are on commission. In fact, at places like Bibles for Missions and Salvation Army, they are often volunteers. This means they are quite willing to let you go about your business. Plus, when they go out of their way to tell you something looks great, you know they’re not just saying it to make a sale.

The music | I remember shopping with my mom when I was a teenager, and since I was taller than, well, everyone, I had no choice but to buy designer jeans with a 36″ inseam from Jean Machine. Jean Machine is one of the most sensory-oppressive environments in the world. They cramp as much product into a teeny tiny space as possible, and try to confuse you into purchasing overpriced denim by blaring only the loudest, most obnoxious music ever. Even as a teenager, I felt too old for that store. Not so in the thrift store, pals. In the thrift store, they stick to a solid roster of oldies and easy rock. I don’t listen to a lot easy rock out of choice, but for some reason, its ideal shopping background music – way less oppressive, and occasionally awesome. I actually don’t think I can thrift properly unless I have Billy Joel or Hall & Oates as musical accompaniment. Or how about some sweet Eagle Eye Cherry and that song from the finale of Dawson’s Creek Season 1? And every so often, they surprise me and play something really fantastic, like Peter Gabriel, that ends up here.

Your fellow shoppers | Tweens, bless their hearts, would much rather pay $27 for a crappy cotton tee from Hollister than tough it out at the thrift store (I should know, I was a tween once, and have the Backstreet memorabilia to prove it). This means that instead of loud throngs of 13 year olds singing Selena Gomez, I’m shopping along side sweet ol’ ladies excited about a finely tailored pant suit. Sure, sometimes I’m shopping alongside a man with rather revealing holes in his track pants and a stench that can only be described as the beer that’s leaked into the bottom of a recycling bin and has since dried to a sticky substance. But, call me crazy, I like the diversity! And that guy couldn’t tell you the difference between a Directioner and  a Belieber, so he’s OK in my books.

Other stuff! | While I thrift mostly for clothing, it’s always nice to take a gander at all the other random goodies they have in store. If I strike out in clothing department, I can comfort myself with a new lamp. Maybe I need a vintage serving platter, maybe I need a cat phone, maybe I need a broken keyboard or a knee board. Point is, you just never know what you’re coming home with, and that’s a great philosophy to adopt (at the thrift store—not the bar).

So there you have it: a few more stray observations on the joys of thrifting. I understand that many of you may read this list quite differently. Perhaps you’re scared by Billy Joel and holey track pants, and maybe you don’t love lamp. But if that’s the case, I’ll bring you back to the start: Sweet tunic treats are worth a little stale beer smell, wouldn’t you say?

27 responses to The Joys of Thrifting

  1. 

    This had me laughing… probably because I know exactly what you’re talking about and agree wholeheartedly.
    And I always LOVE the music in thrift stores! You can never go wrong with Billy Joel…

  2. 

    I love this post. I am in love with my local Goodwill and now feel dirty if i have to go into a major retailer.
    I also adore the tunic. Good find!

    http://thismummasstyle.wordpress.com/

  3. 

    I LOVED this post and I love your outfit! Can I ask what brand your boots are? They are perfect!

  4. 

    I sign this. I haven’t shopped in a mall since January!!
    -Kati

  5. 

    You crack me up, and your thrifting ability never ceases to amaze me! I love the bright colors in your new tunic, and it makes me happy you paid less than $11 for it. Way to go thrifty queen.

  6. 

    I am shocked at the things you thrift! Lovely outfit, and I agree with you on the lamp,

  7. 

    HA! You had me laughing the whole time, because you described the thrifting experience to a tee. AND that tunic is absolutely gorgeous. Great find! Here’s to good finds and the humorous environments and situations in which we find them! ;)

  8. 

    Love it, and it looks lovely on you. I blogged this week about a dress I found for $4 that I literally had to dig for and it smelled like cats and old and funk, but it is one of the prettiest dresses ever and it was totally worth the hunt. :) xo

  9. 

    You look FABULOUS, Julie! Those boots are perfect (I will miss boots the most while in the tropics for three years.) I still need to start thrifting, but I feel bad buying things right now…maybe Hawaii will have awesome thrifts. I’ll keep you posted.

  10. 

    Love this outfit…LOVE it!

  11. 

    YES! Meg and I were JUST saying that employee thing yesterday when we were at the BFM. They are all volunteers and are just the most PLEASANT human beings!

    And when we told them how impressed we were, they didn’t even understand what we were getting at. They just smiled like “isn’t everyone like this?!”

    So ya… from now on it’s BFM and Sally-Anne for us!

  12. 

    I love this post, nice, nice…

  13. 

    I totally relate to all of those reasons! Also your outfit is very cute :)

  14. 

    Love this post! Thrifting is an all around experience that’s for sure. Here I run into families with screaming kids and an overabundance of hipster kids looking for a t-shirt that is just on the right side of too small. But what can ya do… keep on shopping.

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