I’m not fond of shopping but I’m crazy about thrift shops. When I visit a new town, it’s one of the side trips I always take. I ask locals to point me in the direction of as many thrift shops as I can fit into a schedule.
I’m not a good retail browser. Here’s my idea of shopping for new items: 1) Need a thing. 2) See a thing. 3) Ask do you have that thing in my color, size, price? 4) If yes, I’m out of there in minutes. 5) If not, I can live without it.
None of this applies in thrift shops (and sometimes, also consignment centers and second hand furniture stores.) I could stay in there all day. I don’t go for the clothes, though in passing, I have noticed a particular store has a donor who is shaped like me and has my exact taste in clothes. If I needed any of the stuff on the clothing rack, I’d fare better at that thrift shop than a department store. “Editing,” it’s called. Someone at that thrift shop has already edited to my taste.
Thrift shops don’t feel like stores to me. They feel like stories. Someone’s history is attached to every item. I’m fascinated, no spellbound, by stories and occasionally I leave a thrift shop with a piece of somebody else’s history in my hand or in the back seat of my car. Then when it finds a place in my house, it’s these pass-alongs that I enjoy more than something new.
In accordance with my new pact with myself, I must find two things to donate in exchange for each one I buy. I’m aiming to create more stories in my future and less storage.
© Anita Garner 2010
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