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.