Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Thrifty Chicks leak thrift store deals before Black Friday

Reports are out that the giants of conventional retail are leaking deals early, before Black Friday that infamous shopping day after Thanksgiving, to entice shoppers to get ahead in 2009’s retail home stretch. But, they’re talking $598 television sets. Call me crazy but $598 for one gift is not a deal and I think most Americans, given this economic climate, would agree. I don’t believe I'll spend anything close to that this holiday season. But I certainly won’t feel cheated.

We thought it wise to leak thrift store deals in turn. In the left column there is a Picasa Slide Show titled “Thrift Catalog” of over 200 items we have thrifted for pennies on the dollar. I believe the most expensive item is an antique gilt mirror for $30. The vast majority of items range from $3-$9 and don't compromise quality, most of them are originals, some brand new.

We tried to assemble a catalog that would appeal to most everyone from brand new items still in the box or store tags still attached to gently used to vintage to antique. Yes, even in this rough economic climate, people are tossing brand new items over to thrift stores. How could we?

I understand that many people have hangups with the idea of giving a used object as a gift. Funny to think that just a few generations ago, a used item would be accepted with gratitude, appreciation and grace; ahh - the days before planned obsolescence.

News flash - if you shop EBay chances are you’re buying a used object – that’s where I go to learn about many of the products I find in thrift stores. I also learn that I pay a lot less than the EBay list price and don’t pay shipping. For example, I purchased a beautiful silver plate ice bucket for $4 at Goodwill. The same bucket had a starting bid of $20 on Ebay before shipping.

I don't wish to knock EBay, it's a fantastic venue for the reuse market, which in turn is better for our economy and environment. And if you prefer not to thrift, please feed EBay buckets of money. I just find it amusing that people who so readily peruse EBay listings say “eww” to thrift.

A funny thing happened the other day while Thriftfully Modern Mommie and I were checking out a boutique in Denver’s upscale mall. This store was a mix of new and vintage items, some of which I’d seen on the shelves at Goodwill a few days before only now at a 300% to 400% markup from the thrift store price. There was a fur stole on the rack and I noted to Modern Mommie that I had just seen this fur stole at the ARC Thrift just a few days prior. A customer glared at me like I’d said something blasphemous. We had a giggle over that. Where else would the buyers find vintage inventory? Do customers think these buyers have a time machine that transports them back to the 1920’s fur shop to buy the stole fresh off the rack or better yet, from a French trapper? If I had a time machine, I’d certainly do something other than retrieve new old items before they are used.

There is much to the thrift store mystique that needs some clearing up. Once converted, most people rarely go back to conventional retail.

Please take a few minutes and double-click on the left column in the box marked “Thrift Catalog”. I recommend you run it full screen, to really see the products. I am certain there will be enough items to inspire you to thrift. We will continue to add to this slide show as we post photos to our weekly post, Thrift Store Conventions, on how to incorporate thrift into your life.

Please enjoy the show. I’ve learned so much more about products and quality since I’ve been thrifting. I’ve an eight-year-old daughter who can spot cashmere in a ten-foot long rack of sweaters. I think that's pretty darn notable.

Should you not go holiday tree chopping at in certain programs sponsored by National Forest Rangers on Black Friday like Thriftfully Modern Mommie and I will do, I hope your Black Friday leaves you in the black and not the red.

The items below were prepped for shipping at the end of the summer. The total cost of these items was $129. To peek what's inside, click Here. But remember that ultimately The true gift is to be known and understood and that's something money cannot buy.

You're mission, should you choose to accept it, its to relax and enjoy your time this holiday season. Being an adrenaline junkie for nearly two months is not what I call fun.

The next post will show you how to create a gorgeous table for entertaining at $4.61 per place-setting.


Tracy said...

I just got an email from my goodwill that they are having a saturday after Thanksgiving sale.Yes you can get emails from Goodwill,and coupons.The best thing is mine even has 15% off every wednesday for military!
The other day someone actually told me they can't go into goodwill because they feel dirty! HA

Shopping Golightly said...


Tell your friend that in the same week I bought three boxes of water goblets at a discount chain retailer for a party and a new Banana Republic jacket with the $100 price tag still dangling contrasted to the $5 Goodwill price. A day before the party, I took out the glasses and they were DIRTY! So I bought a NEW item at the thrift store and paid a thrift store price. And, I bought USED items at a new store and paid new a new product price. Things aren't always what they seem.

Saver Queen said...

I LOVE your catalogue. I look through it often for inspiration!

I have a question regarding giving thrifted gifts. Is there anyone you wouldn't give a thrifted gift to? I'm not sure certain people I know would appreciate receiving things that have been used, and I don't want anyone to be offended. (New in the box thrifted gifts aside). Thanks!

Alan said...

I call it "Fun Friday" now. As long as you stay away from malls and retail stores, you can have fun.

I picked out my own Christmas gift. A vintage watch on eBay that cost about a tenth of a new one which is nowhere near the quality of the old stuff. Even with an expensive servicing, it is a real bargain.

Let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas: getting a lot of neat gifts.

Shopping Golightly said...

There is not a person I wouldn't give a thrifted gift to. Remember, there are plenty of NEW items that ironically flow through the reuse system. We are that wasteful! Besides, it's hard to tell if my gift is thrifted because I take new items out of their ugly packaging and repackage them in a reusable box for an enticing looking gift. Presentation is half the fun. It's not like I'm giving people dirty undies and mustard-stained undershirts. If it's a child's apron, it's washed an pressed and looks lovely.

Alan said...

Dirty undies?? I was going to make a comment, but I'm a family man now!

Vegan Good Life said...

I adore your site. You are contributing greatly to fighting against the unfair stigma second hand items have.

I help organize clothing swaps at work and we encourage all to come even if they don't donate. So many women don't even want to look at the donated items, which include never worn shoes, jewelry, clothes with the tags on them, and designer labels you would find at Anthropologie. What woman wouldn't want to look at free clothes?

I think the stigma should really be against financial and environmental waste; credit card debt; and living a lifestyle we and our planet cannot afford.

This holiday season, I hope everyone considers a charitable thrift store. Find one at:

PS-I think real fur, even at second-hand, is never fashionable.

thriftfully modern mommie said...

First, I agree with the fur comment, about it never being fashionable, but I believe fur was not the point - it was the fact that an upscale boutique in a high end shopping mall was trying to pull a fast one by making you think it once belonged to, um let's say,The Lady of the Manor, when said fur was just spotted at the local thrift.
Second, Never scoff at thrifted gifts for anyone - gifts are about what you see in a person - how you connect to them and then reaffirming that relationship. It does not matter what they cost or where they came from. One of my best treasures is a madeline pan given as a mother's day present from little Pi and it did not come from Sur la Table, and it could not have been more that $2. It's value lies in the fact that she and I both LOVE madelines. One of the best things about thrifting is the amazing treasures one can find and how they remind them of a time in childhood or a dear friend .

Daisy said...

I love the fur stole story! I was in a consignment store with my blind son, then 4 years old. He called out, "Mom, I found a kitty!" Yes, he'd found a fur jacket and was stroking it. Oh, the fun we have shopping second hand!

This Thrifted Life said...

I just looked through the thrift catalog, and I cannot thank you enough to putting it together! It as so inpsiring to look through all those secondhand treasures, and now I can't wait to go thrifting this week. I need some entertaining pieces for a housewarming party this weekend, and now I have lots of ideas about what to look for.

Joyful said...

Are you selling the items in the Thrift Catalogue or just showcasing what we could find if we thrift? I love your site which I just found today :-) Have a very Merry Christmas.

Fashion Suits said...

Ohhh well... i hate hearing dirty undies,, it make me horny.. haha just kidding. (this is a certified cool post)