I spend a lot of money at the Salvation Army thrift store, and by “a lot” I mean sometimes I will spend up to $20 on a huge load of fantastic finds. That’s a fortune in thrift store terms. No store in town can beat the good old Sally Ann for variety, style, and price. It takes some extra work to flip through the racks of clothing in order to sniff out the bargains and treasures, but it’s well worth the effort. There’s no polite, hovering sales person to bring additional sizes and styles to the change room, and I like that. I can rummage in privacy with no pressure to buy.
Once I was at a party talking with a group of women about the lack of shopping places in our small town. I informed the group that I shop almost exclusively at the Salvation Army thrift store. They were very curious: “Really? What do you get there?” I looked down at my outfit of black leggings, a black knitted T-shirt dress, and oversized leather belt. “Actually, everything I’m wearing right now was bought at the thrift store. This entire outfit cost me…” I did some quick math “… about eight dollars in total.” There was a collective gasp.
There’s a general assumption that the thrift store has only crappy, awful clothes for sale. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course there are some hideous options, but that’s no different than any store. Instead, there are entire racks of designer jeans, workout gear, T-shirts and sundresses, shoes, coats, and, best of all, tons of clothes for kids who grow like weeds. Everything is in wearable condition. The store is very picky about what they sell and you won’t find holes or stains on anything. I also buy most of our household wares at the thrift store – dishes, glasses, our pine harvest table, chairs, vases, and curtains. It’s an eclectic shopper’s dream come true!
I love how the best pieces of clothing reveal themselves when least expected. They’re not shown off by mannequins or advertisements throughout the store because no one knows they’re there, but as soon as I lay eyes on a particular shirt or skirt or dress, I know it’s meant to be mine. Best of all, as I hunt for the price tag, it’s almost always less than $5. (No, I didn’t forget a zero on the end of that number!) Trying on clothes at the thrift store is an experiment in guessing my size because I get only one shot at making each item work.
Best of all, I like how the thrift store is as close to guilt-free shopping as I can get. “Retail therapy” at the Sally Ann costs a fraction of what it would in a mall. Plus I don’t feel like such a gross consumer if I’m buying used items. Even though my shopping there depends on the North American culture of “disposable clothes,” I can’t deny feeling satisfied that no big box store corporation has benefited from my purchase, but rather the Salvation Army’s local charity work. So if you haven’t yet checked out your local thrift store, I highly urge you to give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised… and so will your bank account!