Sunday, April 03, 2016

A Tale of Two Thrift Stores

There's a new thrift store opening a few doors down from the Goodwill near my house. I stopped by to see what it was like. There was a large neon sign in the window flashing, "Open" but I was immediately pounced upon by one of the women working there telling me they weren't open.

"Okay, I'll check back some other time" I said and turned to go, before she pounced again. I should mention that I don't like feeling pounced upon. Anyway, she felt the need to explain how her thrift store worked, and to be polite, I stood there as she explained their business model whilst insulting me.

They buy sought-after big name labels and re-sell them for half of what they sold for retail. Glancing  at rack after rack of jeans with rhinestone and silver crap all over the bum, I knew exactly the sort of thing they were looking for. She began listing off a number of names that might as well been in Old Norse for all my familiarity with them. Suddenly, she paused and slowly looked me over head to toe seeking anything in my outfit that would be acceptable for them to buy and declared, "We don't buy the clothes you wear."


Look, I know her type and I can't be bothered. I decided I'd had enough and wished her good luck with the shop as I started to leave.

"Oh, I don't need luck, I know we're going to do great" she bellowed at me as I left. Maybe so, but if she doesn't get a crash course in manners or at least business etiquette the wrong blogger is going to wander in there and burn up the local ratings sites with reasons to avoid the place. I'm not going to "name and shame", but given what I experienced, it is going to happen.

Quick story-My dad always dressed like a bum. It was a look he cultivated, and he couldn't be bothered with regular haircuts and tucking in shirt tails. Oh, he looked presentable enough at work in his matching blue work shirt and Dickies trousers, but at the weekend? Total slob. My mother used to joke he'd only shave half his face before declaring it, :Good enough."  So dad decides he's been working hard year after year and wants a fancy car. This was oh, about 1977. In he walks to the Lincoln dealership and of course, they ignore him. Finally a salesperson wanders over to ask him to leave stating, "You can't afford a Lincoln." My dad laughed, left and bought the car at a dealership across town. Shortly after, he stopped back at the first dealership, found the salesman and waved the sales receipt at him pointing out the lost commission he could have had.

So there you have it kids, the old adage of not judging books by their cover still applies.

I walked two doors over and stopped in at Goodwill to see what they had. I know the women working there quite well, so it wasn't exactly shocking to hear one of them yell to me from halfway down an aisle,
"I don't think the orange tights are working!"
Before I could respond, her co-worker on the other end yelled back,
"Yes it is. She has orange earrings and lipstick."

The two stood there surveying my outfit as random shoppers milled past having a look at my legs to see whether or not the tights were, "Working."

"Should we put it to a vote? A show of hands, perhaps?" I asked.

We all laughed, and the jury is still out on the tights. I wasn't at all insulted because it was done in a spirit of fun. There wasn't any meanness in it and no one was trying to assert their fashion superiority, it was just someone blurting out an observation about a pair of loud tights in a friendly manner. See the difference?

I managed to find several expensive items of brand name-clothing as I went through the rails-Maybe I should have bought them, and sold them down the street for a few dollars more? I can almost guarantee that will happen.

I suppose I find the whole attitude thing funny because I live in Omaha. I mean, for fuck's sake, get over yourselves. Okay, enough about that, you don't come hear for lectures-let's look at the clothes.

Vintage Koret of California polyester shirt dress-Can't remember, I think it was Salvation Army.
Vintage home-sewn polyester jacket with contrast cuffs and lining-Goodwill
Bangles-all over
Vintage Enamel brooch-Goodwill
Vintage metal clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage woven nylon bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Old Navy Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Coral
Cazal vintage frames-Mum's

Mr. Frog and the pinwheel are trying to coax the lettuce to grow. The sorrel in the bed behind them is thriving.

Remember kids, there's only one opinion that matters about what clothes you wear...yours.


Anonymous said...

Good advice. Reminds me of the time I was with my university instructor Mom at our town's fancy department store. Mom was shopping for perfume and the clerk actually told her she should purchase the cologne because it was more affordable. Mom told her she could afford the perfume and she had just lost the sale. Mom stewed about the insult all the way home.

Love your site!

Bibi Maizoon said...

When I was selling off my multitudinous fab 50's wardrobe in northern California I met several badly behaved vintage clothing & consignment store owners as you describe. I thought that was just snooty hipster SFBay area attitude though. I had no idea it extended that far east of I5.
Actually, when I was selling off my furniture collection I met quite a few a-holes that would proceed to tell me my items were crap that wouldn't sell (when what they had in their store was clearly crap) & offer me next to nothing for them. I finally had my fill when one posh consignment store owner said the Waterford crystal candelabra I left at her shop on consignment got "lost" and refused to compensate me for it. I ended up running ads in the newspaper & having multiple estate sales to dispense with my most valuable stuff.

Well, I was just wondering when I'd see those Big Bird tights again "et voila" there's some Donald Duck legs!
Love them polka dots!
I'd be flattered if that woman told me "We don't buy the clothes you wear."

Sorry, I don't wear sartorial absurdities like names emblazoned across my arse (or any other body part you care to mention).

Polyester Princess said...

I don't like being pounced on either, and the attitude of that lady just made my skin crawl. As for the orange tights, I think they are working pretty good with the rest of your outfit. Funny, I was also having an "orange moment" this weekend. xxx

ThriftyParka said...

Snort! That snooty clerk from the first store obviously doesn't know style from a hole in the ground.

I have to interrupt this comment to say, LOOOOOVVEE that purse!! I would quite happily purchase at one of those fancy-schmancy, curated-thrift store.

May I copy your outfit? I have a navy, polka-dot jacket and a lovely daisy broach similar to yours. I'm heading off to the big city soon, I plan to hunt me down a pair of orange tights!!!

bah!! I really can't stand snooty clerks. Now I must go and eat some chocolate and fume.

happy thrifting ;)

Beth Waltz said...

Fie upon the pouncer! May the fleas of a thousand camels find refuge in her rugs and may all her rhinestones rust!

The orange tights not only work, they dance. The purse is a nice change from the usual navy blue matchy-matchy bag, and I believe I also see a snippet of orange in those jacket cuffs. And, yes, the clerks and shoppers in my local store also offer critiques in the true spirit of Goodwill. They pick up items dropped from the racks, re-hang items that have drifted to the wrong size section, and even assist the less able to wrestle heavy goods like rugs.

As for who can afford what -- I once encountered my opthamologist exiting Goodwill and heading for her zillion $ SUV clutching a just purchased blouse. When she spotted me, she crowed "my size! still has the tags!" Her staff has told me a Goodwill gift certificate is her Christmas gift of choice, especially since that's where she buys her vacation wardrobe for the winter weeks in posh places.

Mim said...

Orange tights and Omnia Coral perfume? The Queen of Matching strikes again!

That thrift store sounds like it's full of crud; you're far too classy for an embellished arse.

Goody said...

Perfume counters can be terrible for that sort of thing. I don't blame your mother being insulted.

Sigh, antique dealers can REALLY be awful (and I know-I used to be one!). Yes, you want to buy the items for the lowest possible price to make a profit, but it can be arrived at without insulting the seller. So often I'd be dealing with someone liquidating the estate of a recently dead loved one-insulting the dead person's taste isn't the way to go about it. Sure, sometimes people over-value what they have because it is old, but you can still gently explain that it hasn't quite found a market yet without calling something, "Crap." I know I earned less than other dealers but there's only so low I'm willing to stoop to earn a living. I dunno, a little tact goes a long way?

@Polyester Princess
I'll look forward to seeing your orange moment.

@Thrifty PArka
Of course-please DO copy! I'm not one of those bloggers that complains because so-and-so stole my idea to wear a cardigan with a blouse, or pin my hair behind my ears, or any other obvious thing these fools think they just discovered and posted to Instagram. I'm flattered you like it enough to want to try it yourself.

The bag is really strange-it feels like it was woven with stretchy nylon-almost the stuff you'd see a nightgown made from. There's no label, so I'm curious if it was a homemade project.

You say, "Matchy Matchy" like that's a bad thing ;)

Visitors to our State Capitol building have been asked not to sit on the wooden benches if they are wearing the blinged-out jeans because it is damaging the historic furniture. If that isn't enough of a reason to avoid them, I don't know what is.

Porcelina said...

Hello there, I am new to your blog, via Mim - and I have to say I feel thoroughly entertained! What a funny post, it made me smile. I like the orange tights personally ;)

Vix said...

Gah! I hate those boring old farts who feel it's their duty to pass judgement on your outfit of choice when they're usually in head to toe beige with flesh-coloured tights and orthopedic sandals. Yeah, thanks for that.
I love the orange with the navy, it's perfect. The bag is fab and the orange accessories are super duper.
Love the story of your Dad. I used to hang around with a bloke who drove a Lincoln Continental when I was 18. The coolest car in town. xxx

Miss Magpie said...

I once got sent a Platinum credit card, in error I hasten to add! I went to Liberty's in London and was in a particularly scruffy denim jacket that day. To cut a long story short the girl behind the till sneered and ignored me for as long as possible but the minute I got that card out to pay she fawned over me so much it was sickening. Actually now I come to think of it that jacket got me ignored more times than I care to mention and accused of shoplifting once as well but I wore it until it literally fell apart.

Goody said...

Thank you! I enjoyed visiting your blog as well.

I'm sure you've never felt the need to shout an opinion at someone, but it does make you wonder what is wrong with people that it is now so commonplace?

@Miss Magpie
I don't think they would let me walk past Liberty's without calling the police.