People shop at thrift stores for any number of reasons. Some, like the designer, are hobbyists seeking overlooked antiques and collectibles; others make a business out of sorting through the records, books, and other stuff to find resellable goods; college kids seek out retro fashions and kitschy housewares; retirees seek out companionship and memories of past days; and so on.
“Thrifting” is fun and it’s cheap — and it’s also a good deed, keeping perfectly usable goods out of landfills and incinerators to provide a few more years of service.
If you’re new to thrifting, here’s a few pointers to help you make the most of your visit to Get Your Thrift On!
Making yourself known and building relationships with the employees pays off with more than just good karma — if you have particular interests or needs, employees will often pull aside things that might interest you, or hold them behind the counter until you can get to the bank to pull out money.
It pays to keep a running list of things you need or want. Thrift stores are great for kitchen wares, office supplies, sports equipment, books, and electronics (especially DVD players, CD players, scanners, and computer monitors). Furniture is also easily found, though it may take some looking to find furniture that you need. With patience it usually is possible to find just about anything.
One of the fun things about thrifting is that you will see things that lend themselves to uses quite different from their original intended functions. A waste-basket can hold poster tubes, a suitcase can act as a coffee table, a record crate can be turned sideways to organize binders, etc. Keep your eyes (and mind) open for objects the might fill a need in an unusual and interesting way.
Thrifting isn’t like other shopping, where you go in with a list of what you want, get it, and go. Thrifting is a scavenger hunt, where you can hope and dream about "The Ultimate Bargain." Half the fun is in the looking. Have fun!