A Surprising Visit to a Thrift Shop

by TTMK on June 2, 2014 · 3 comments

When it comes to shopping, as you can probably tell, I’m someone who has self-control. At this point, I’m not likely to be over the top with big purchases. That’s not to say that I never get tempted, because I do. However, I’ve managed to stay the course living a comfortable enough middle-class existence without cutting too many corners and making myself uncomfortable on purpose.

With that in mind, I bring up the topic of buying second-hand items at thrift stores. A recent discussion with my daughter prompted a visit to one of these stores, and also got me to revisit my line of thinking on them.

My own background with such stores is that I really haven’t visited them. If anything, I would be likely to donate old clothes and other items so others could use them, and this is something that I’ve been doing annually as it is. With what I wear, however, I have my own taste in clothing and that has always entailed newer, quality items.

That’s not to say that I’ve never gone to a thrift shop. Many years ago, I went to one while looking for a cheap, old outfit to wear for fun to a 70’s themed “disco” party. This was about 15 years ago, so the disco era was long gone. I did go to a thrift shop and found a gaudy dark purple suit for $2 that worked as a great “costume” for that evening. Mission accomplished!

Very recently, my daughter asked me what thrift shops were. I told her, and then asked her why she wanted to know. So, she told me about how one of her classmates has to shop at them. She was curious what they were like, and mentioned (several times) that she wanted to go visit one.

So I took her to one. And I have to tell you, I felt humbled and actually impressed at the same time.

No matter what misgivings I might have about second-hand clothes, I have to admit that what I saw for sale there looked pretty solid. They had neckties there that were actually really good, of nice quality, for $1. Kids’ shorts and jeans were $1 and $2, respectively. Plenty of other clothing items for sale, of course.

Beyond that, they had some other non-clothing items that were interesting. A really nice picture frame was offered for $4, while it would probably go for $25 or so at retail if new. End tables in decent shape were on sale for $15. What also caught my eye was a wheelchair, oddly enough. I have an older family member that could probably use one, and they had one in great condition for $50. I’m sure they normally go for many multiples more than that.

All in all, despite having some preconceived notions about such stores, I came away from that experience impressed. Additionally, I must admit that I felt quite guilty about having my own “standards” all these years. In reality there is a lot that many of us have to be thankful for, and it’s good to remind ourselves of this on a regular basis. Plus, it’s good to know that there are many opportunities to live on modest budget and be okay if need be.

My Questions for You

Have you ever visited a second hand or thrift store?

What is your impression of such stores?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Goldeneer June 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

I regularly shop at thrift stores and I’m sure I pass by other “millionaires next door” like me*. At the thrift store, I find that it takes more effort finding quality items so I give myself extra time. It is also overwhelming since all items might be organized by size or colour. I have lost any shame going to a thrift store and am transparent on where I shop. What I am ashamed of is spending $40 on a shirt.

When I decided I wanted to become financially independent, I realized that I could no longer waste money on new clothes. I now spend $200-400 (as opposed to $1000-2000) on used clothes and look as good as anyone else at the office.

*I’m not technically a millionaire yet but I am getting close.


Peter June 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

As I’m getting older 38… I see myself become less interested in what I wear. I live in California, so not much clothing is needed to begin with. However when I go to drop off extra cloth to donation shop nearby, I can’t believe people actually buy cloths from these stores. I probably think that because I know I wouldn’t. Plus, when people have yard sale around here, they lay their cloth on the grass and people actually pick those up and buy them.

I know I’m not so much into fashion anymore, but I don’t think that I would buy them.


Poor Student June 22, 2014 at 12:45 am

I don’t usually shop for clothes at the thrift store, because just like you I have specific taste and most of the time I can’t find anything that I really like. Nevertheless, for stuff that I don’t really wear, I do sometimes find stuff that I like, such as books and decorative items from there.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: