Musings on my thrift store obsession.

I have summers off. Which is AWESOME. Seriously, why aren’t we all public school employees? (Oh, wait, I’m remembering our last staff meeting and all the bureaucratic crap involved with working for a big school district. Never mind.) This summer I got into the habit of hittingĀ  thrift stores on a regular basis. Like, every day. And, if I’m being honest, which is necessary when you’re admitting that you have a problem, there were a few times that I hit one thrift store TWICE in one day. And I realized that to get the really good stuff, you have to be that vigilant and regular. Here’s something I found when I was making regular rounds to the Salvation Army in my neighborhood:

clockIt’s a19th century or early 20th century Ansonia clock. It was thrown in a shopping cart, along with a lot of other crap that was about to be put out on the shelves. It was marked $4.95. Honestly, I felt like a thief as I scurried up to the register with it cradled in my arms. I mean, it’s not my style, and the color is ridiculous, but I’m capable of appreciating its beauty even if it’s not quite to my taste. The inner workings were broken (the clock didn’t work) but the housing was perfect — just in stunning shape, which is really rare for my stupid neighborhood Salvation Army, who consistently enrages me by breaking things as they’re shelving them. Seriously, if I see one more awesome cookie jar whose lid was broken by a lazy employee I might scream. I ended up selling this on eBay for over $300. Had I not been in the store at that exact moment, I would have missed out on it! Which was the real beginnings of my thrift store obsession — I just can’t help but think about what I’m missing out on at any given moment. I do that at yard sales, too — if I hit a really good one late in the morning, I can’t be 100% happy with my scores because I can’t stop thinking about what I’ve missed out on!

But that’s my sickness, and there’s only so much therapy and drugs can do. There are people who actually bribe Sally employees to save the good stuff in the back for them, and there are people who show up hours early and knock on doors for yard sales, and there are people who use the Internet to find out the phone numbers of people having sales the next morning and call to see if they can show up days before — and I’m never going to be those people. I’ll sit in my car and wait ten minutes if I show up early to a sale, even if it looks like they’re ready for business. I’m just never going to have that killer instinct, even if I manage to make a business with this! And I’m okay with that. Regrets, I can live with. Rudeness, I cannot.

Clearly, the only solution is to visit my favorite thrift stores twice a day, five days a week. I can take weekends off, right?

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