Thrift Store Shopping – The Agony and the Ecstasy

Thrift ShoppingI spend an inordinate amount of time shopping in thrift stores.  At least two to three times a week, you’ll find me in any of the six local thrifts that I haunt regularly.  I mainly shop for “inventory acquisition” (the ‘polite’ term that vinties like to use), but I also shop for myself.  And I mostly love it.  I’ve been shopping thrifts since I discovered them as a teenager, and I’ve never quit.

There is just something so thrilling to me about thrifts.  Malls and department stores bore me silly with their sameness.  At thrifts I never quite know what I’m going to find, and everything is unique.  I get a feeling of anticipatory excitement in the pit of my stomach when I enter the door…where to look first, what to see, what to do!  I actually enjoy going through the racks, digging through bins, and finding things placed randomly throughout the store.

I’m all-business when it comes to thrifting.  No distractions for me please;  no cell phone, no iPod, no shopping with others.  Pretty much a laser focus to scope out the goods.  I know which days are the sale days, “color tag” days, and are the most and least crowded.  I know a lot of the clerks personally, and enjoy a good jaw while checking out.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games.  There are actually quite a lot of annoyances that I have resigned myself to live with while shopping thrifts.  Probably my biggest beef is loud people, be they screaming kids, yelling moms, or people screeching into their phones.  Thrifts are full of them.  I have to work myself into a “zone” to carry myself through.  I like peace and quiet…but I know I’ll never find it at the thrift.

Another annoyance is people who sidle.  I can be the only one in the aisle and sure enough, there will soon be someone who is right next to me going through the racks.  This is something that is so irksome to me that I usually leave and go to another aisle.   But then I have to consciously calculate to come back to that same aisle when all is clear.

The one thing that I’m on the fence about is the amount of “unique” characters that thrift stores seem to attract.  Since I’m a regular, I’ve learned pretty quickly that there are also a lot of other regulars who shop there too.  Some are highly amusing; others are just plain creepy.  One thing for sure is that it is never a dull experience.  They probably feel the same about me too!

It used to be that shopping thrifts was kind of an alternative, funky thing to do.  A lot of people wouldn’t set foot in such a place.  Now it seems like thrifts are getting to be more of a cool, economical thing to do.  That’s okay, the more the merrier.  And the more I hope people will donate and recycle.  Thrifting may not be for the faint of heart, but it will always be unrivaled!

Happy shopping!


5 Responses to “Thrift Store Shopping – The Agony and the Ecstasy”

  1. bobbi

    All so true, so true! I would like to add my pet peave of the customer who comes down an aisle that you have started on and pushes their cart sideways as to block your way….whats up with that? And I agree that more and more people are donating to their local thrifts. Back in the day it was a funky little hide-a-way around the corner (never on the main drag!) and was not frequented by “normal” folks…ha! Now, thrifts in my area are brightly lit, wide aisled and the size of a mini Wal-Mart. I only have one thing to say: Vive la Thrift!

  2. finnfemme

    Oh yes, the blocking of the aisle by the dreaded cart. That’s another pet peeve! What is with some people, guarding their “territory”? I’ve given up on using a cart, and just load up in my arms. Easier to maneuver through the maze of aisle blockage…gotta have strategy! 🙂


  3. deb

    The screaming, crying kids that run through a thrift drive me nuts.. Especially with parents at the front of the store YELLING at their children at the back of the store to behave..LOL

    Aside from all of that, I do love the thrifts and the thrill of the hunt…

  4. vintage valentino

    I totally agree. Thrift stores can be magical places (sometimes the magic is just evil, though). Some of my best moments occurred in a thrift store. One time I was in a section where they were selling flower pots and I found a actual Devo energy dome hat. SCORE! 😉

  5. finnfemme

    Yes, that’s another trick of mine; looking for randomly placed objects in different areas of the thrift. I think people try to hide things!

    That’s cool that you found a Devo energy dome hat! And very funny that they thought it was a flower pot. 😀


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