Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thrift Store Shopping

I really didn’t discover thrift stores until the late 90’s. In 1999 I was traveling to Lawrenceville to work, and at lunchtime I often cruised around the unfamiliar area. To kill time, I walked in a thrift store, and realized there were hidden treasures there waiting to be found. Will was at the age where he loved to wear football and baseball jerseys, and there were plenty to be found at thrift stores, for only a dollar or three. There was one Steve Young jersey he wore for years. There were interesting, high-quality T-shirts for both him and me.

The main drag in Roswell is littered with thrift stores, and stopping in soon became a favorite pastime. After a rough day at work, I’ve found a good way to unwind is to stop by a thrift store and browse. Unless I’m trying to kill time, I rarely hit more than one thrift store every few days. With at least six good stores on my way home from work, I rarely hit the same one more than once a month. When I happen to be in a less-traveled part of town, I can visit a thrift store there. The Goodwill Stores in Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, and Johns Creek often have good selections. When I’m out-of-town, it’s fun to find a thrift store.

At most stores I traverse a regular path, slowly making a large circle around the store. I usually hit the shoe section first, then proceed to other favorite sections close by. Other regular sections include T-shirts, dress shirts, golf shirts, Hawaiian shirts, sweaters, shorts, sporting goods, bobbleheads, nick-knacks, and dishes.

Most of the time I’m not looking for anything in particular, just looking to see what jumps out at me. A favorite style shoe. Anything Masters. A valuable jersey. A nice jacket. A baseball glove or bat, or a fitted, wool MLB cap. Golf clubs and bags. I usually skip the pants section, unless I’m in need of a pair. When I recently got into reading I spent lots of time browsing the book section, but that takes too long. When the kids were younger I’d find all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books at thrift stores. Also interesting toys. Will wore out shoes so fast, it was good to find them so cheap.

When I do buy clothes, I only buy garments that are nearly new, in excellent shape, and still in style. Elite brand names like Polo, Callaway, Ashworth, Nike, Puma, Gap, etc. I could buy Abercrombie, but don’t. There would be plenty of women’s clothes to buy for Ceil and Anna, but they’d rather I didn’t. Matthew is warming up to the idea, and Will occasionally stops by thrift stores on his own. The only problem is all the hideous sweaters he brings home. I’ve created a monster!

When I began working on a personal computer, I created a spreadsheet to list all my finds. I’ve been spending between ten and twenty dollars per month, generally saving ninety percent on my purchases. I could go on and on about the valuable jerseys I’ve found at thrift stores…some worth hundreds of dollars. Stumbling upon those give me the biggest thrill. After over twelve years, our closets are full. I’ve finally started selling these treasures on eBay. Hopefully this will become just as much fun.

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