Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pulling a little weed

The March 2nd opinion piece for the Christian Science Monitor, “Green shopping: Don’t say ‘eww’ to thrift stores” was picked up by several news sources including Yahoo News, Business Exchange, Lucianne, The Daily Kos and many other sites and independent blogs. I’ve always read comments to my opinions on TV, radio and news blogs like MSN Money. I never jump in, just sit back to learn what others are thinking. Some comments make me chuckle. Some make me proud. Other make my scalp sore from head scratching. When I read a funky comment, I enjoy watching another swoop in to bust it. But I’d never felt bitten until the Monitor piece ran. A reader reported that thrift stores spray fungicide on their clothing. He cited no reference. Just wrote it without documented evidence and from what I know that is called a genuine rumor.

I had a bad reaction to this bite. It became an irritation. So I asked my friends at Denver Goodwill to clarify. Follows is their formal response:

"Goodwill Industries of Denver is redefining the thrift store experience. Stores are cleaner, brighter, more organized than ever and shoppers expect an experience similar to a traditional big box retail store. Our stores have never used any fungicidal spray or treatment on clothes. Our donations are carefully screened to bring the best quality goods to the floor for our customers and we ensure that each piece meets certain standards. This is not your grandmother’s thrift store!"
Meaghan Carabello
Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, Goodwill Industries of Denver

Another myth I asked my friends at Goodwill to dispel is the one where people claim that thrift stores only want “poor” people shopping their stores. I asked Goodwill Denver to comment and it ran in our January 21st post. I’m always amused by this notion of only “poor” people allowed in thrift stores and visualize the security stanchions like the inventory control systems of retail stationed at the front doors of thrift, monitoring shoppers as they enter the store. Imagine walking into a thrift store and an alarm sounds and a fakey, loud, slow female voice barks out "PLEASE leave the store, you are NOT POOR!"

I guess that would assume that we've all been implanted with net-worth chips. Wait! Perhaps that’s how other people walk in restaurants and get seated before my family. Who knew? This must not be good because we don’t visit fancy joints.

15 comments:

Peachy Keen said...

I just discovered your blog, it was mentioned in Family Circle magazine. I love a bargain! I go to thrift stores, yard sales and even some estate auctions and get great deals. I could never afford to eat off Royal Daulton china if I had to buy at a regular retail outlet.

Frugal Maven said...

How can anyone have a beef with thrift stores? If you don't like them just don't go in and leave the good stuff for the rest of us!

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

People will say (and believe) absolutely anything, won't they? Of course, I've always aspired to the Red Queen's standard: "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Hmmm, maybe the thrifting version is, I've BOUGHT six impossible things before breakfast--for fifty cents!

BTW, I just KNOW those red Mary Janes in your slide show are for me, right?? ;o)

Shopping Golightly said...

Of course I've been daydreaming for a good April Fools post but would never stoop to creating a rumor. Yikes!

Songbirdtiff said...

One day I'm going to start photographing the cars in the lots at our thrift stores. Usually these are really, really nice cars. Um, yeah, because those people are SMART and save money where they can, enabling them to buy nicer cars. Not poor.

Shopping Golightly said...

Ah and to dream that someday all of us smart people will drive smart cars!

Sonya said...

Those little weeds can get rawther big quickly with very little tending to them. Good for you.
Sonya

Anonymous said...

I'm w/ ya Songbirdtiff.. the cars. Yesterday I went to my fave thrift store. All cars in the parking lot were less than 5 yrs old & retail for over $40,000. And from the looks of myself & the other shopping, no one of us would qualify as "poor".

craftygeek said...

Hi,
I worked in a thrift store once and we did spray furniture,stuffed animals and any large upholestered pieces with a disinfectant. That was because gross bugs like cockroaches,lice, fleas, etc. could be hiding in them. We did not spray clothes though because if they were nasty enough to require cleaning they went to the dumpster. I have heard people say that thrift store clothes are sprayed but have never found that to be true. All you have to do is ask the people that work there. The man who wrote that obviously doesn't understand the term "second hand" in that he does not realize that when you buy clothes second hand they should be taken home and washed because they are used. Some people just look for reasons to add their 2 cents just to stir the pot.

Shopping Golightly said...

And not only should you wash thrift store clothes but new clothes as well. We assume they are new but think about how many times they've been tried on, dumped on the floor and sprayed with sizing. Or, worn and returned.

Nancy Jo said...

Well I just posted a cooment on here someplace but don't know where it went. Anyway, I thrift a few times every week, Never come home with out a bag. I went today and got a really cute old strw bag and a children's book, a nice hand mirror. A few days ago I got a nice decoration for my back door, I post pictures of my finds over on my blog. Its great fun. Love the thrift stores.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

I talk about Designer Wardrobes (thrift style) so often on my blog, that this kind of a comment about the fungicide would have bitten me as well. Would you mind if I use your Goodwill quote (w/thnx to you, of course). I am unpacking all this on my blog right now.
http://inpassionatepursuit.blogspot.com/2009/03/designer-wardrobe-on-frugal-budget.html

Shopping Golightly said...

Go for it Jen!

chicksinger said...

I want to give a double thumbs-up to the Denver Goodwill, especially the store on Broadway, which totally has the look and feel of a mainstream retail space. All of the items I've purchased there have been in great condition. I make a habit of washing all clothes I buy, whether second- or first-hand, but even so, none of the clothes I've gotten at Goodwill have an ick factor. They do a great job.

Anonymous said...

They must spray the clothing with something because all of it has the same distinctive odor. I buy Tshirts to repurpose into diapers and have to wash them many times to get that smell out. Any suggestions on how to get them clean with the first wash cycle? I've tried adding vinegar and/or baking soda but they still have that sickly sweet thrift store odor.