Shopping at thrift stores

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered the joy of finding bargains at my local thrift store. My favorite store is an independent, locally owned store. Because of that store, I’ve developed a taste for Abercrombie & Fitch flannel shirts, which I seem to find on their racks often. I’ve probably got about 5 of them and never paid more than 5 bucks for each one. I refuse to pay full price for them.

I’ve always thought that “thrifting” was an acceptable thing to do, but a few of my friends reprimand me for shopping there. Their reasoning is that thrift stores were “meant for people with less means than I”. Now, I’m feeling guilty for all the bargains I’ve denied folks who are poorer than I am. For the record, I am far from rich, but far from poor too.



I don’t think America is in any danger of a shortage of "disposed " goods that end up at thrift stores. If it truly bothers you, then donate an item every time you make a purchase. Or you could tell your friends that you’re helping an independent business stay viable so that they may continue to serve those “less fortunate.” Look smug when you say it and add a little dash of contempt for their spendthrift ways.

The whole purpose of many thrift stores is not to provide clothing and household items for the needy (although they do)… their purpose is to get you to buy stuff. Then, with the profits from your purchases they can help fund programs to actually help the needy.

While it could be argued the shopping is an art form, I think this thread would do better in IMHO.

Thrift stores aren’t only to provide inexpensive stuff to the poor. They also provide jobs, for the people working the counters and for the ones who work processing and cleaning up donations. The more business they do, the more jobs they can provide, so continue shopping at the thrift store knowing you are helping, not hurting, the needy. And tell your friends the same thing.

Remember the shopper’s mantra: “Paying retail is for suckers.”

This isn’t a thrift store, but for my four almost five year old daughter who is tough on clothes and is growing like a weed,
I buy alot of her clothes at Once Upon A Child, gently used clothes for kids.

Unfortunately, they are a bitch to try to resale the clothes back,
I just took a box, to sale, alot of the clothes were stuff that I had bought there and they not would buy back. Really Picky, kids don’t care what they wear.

I guess I’ll have to give them to the Salvation Army, since I don’t have alot of room in my place.

I don’t mind shopping at thrift stores, I am not made of money, if you can find clothes or household stuff, that is good, that is fine.
I don’t knock it, I bought a Land’s End sweater at a thrift store.

I also go to the Outlet Mall.

Consignment stores benefit both the store and the consigner. Many thrift stores benefit some charitable organization. And asll people have an equal opportunity to buy at retail locations. Those poor people had just as much of a chance to purchase the clothes as you did. They don’t ask for a financial statement before letting you in.


On a related note, I love shopping at dollar stores. I’ve gotten everything from videos to books to raw material for Halloween costumes to vitamins to sunglasses to dinner. My local dollar store just had six-packs of Mountain Dew Code Red for a dollar, way better than the grocery store prices. It’s a mixed bag, totally dependant on what the store gets in at any given time, but since I couldn’t care less about using particular brand names I can always find things like toothpsate and cleaning supplies as I need them.

This guy at work took me to task for buying food from the dollar store. “I would never eat food from the dollar store!” I took great delight in telling him that he already had (the pretzels I keep in a jar on my desk). Now any time I walk in with something new people ask if I got it at the dollar store and more often than not I did.

I work for three thrift stores & there is no way someone could afford some of our stuff unless they have a lot of money. We have itmes that are $700, some are $600…

There is a great book on these stores & their tricks, THRIFT SCORE, its about $12 at
There is a chapter in it on how people hide stuff in the store until there is a half off sale, then they bring it out. So we make sure we don’t have hiding places :slight_smile:

My most recent thrift store tale: A stereo hifi SuperBeta in pristine operating condition for $20 from a Goodwill last Friday.

I don’t see poor people being videophiles enough to want to buy Beta VCRs.

OTOH, I could (but won’t!) turn around and sell this for $250 on eBay, so Goodwill could have done a better deal here.

I buy a lot of semi- or not-at-all-working stuff from thrift stores (and garage sales). Again, I assume that poor people are not likely to be into repairing electronics and computers.

All the thrift stores around here have “display case” departments where the treasures that somebody threw out are kept. Real “Antique Roadshow” collectible stuff. Again, poor people aren’t likely to buy $200 clocks, etc.

rostfrei, your friends are clueless twits. You can tell them I said so.

I have bought tons of books and other stuff at thrift stores but I generally don’t buy clothes.

Hell no, don’t feel guilty! Snap up every Abercorombie and Fitch shirt you can find. Here the area’s poorer, and people have more extended family locally, so I don’t find it worthwhile to shop at thrift stores, but got lots of nice items when I lived in more affluent areas. Like everyone else said, business keeps the thrift stores solvent and able to hire workers and contribute to other charity work. Try Salvation Army, or maybe a local thrift run by your city’s animal shelter. You’re donating to a good cause while getting a great deal.

I routinely, as in twice a week, hit all the local thrift stores. And I do resell items on eBay. Actually, MANY sellers on eBay do this. Generally, it’s clothing that has been altered, embellished and turned into costumes. I also decorated most of my home out of the thrifts. I find a lot of high quality stuff, and the money I spend there goes to help local programs. What I can’t resell or use, along with my own stuff that would normally be relegated to a garage sale, gets donated back.

I love thrift stores, junk stores, yard sales, and the eternal pile-o-goods-by-the-dumpster. With four kids and a relatively small income, these places are a lifeline for me.
I basically get all of our clothes and most of household stuff this way. I figure if I can buy my kids’ clothes at Goodwill, then I have more money for groceries, and that’s smart bookkeeping.
I’m all for buying and re-selling, too…everyone has the option of selling online, and if it isn’t worth the hassle to the thrift shop to do so, I’m still shopping at their establishment and boosting their sales. My local Goodwill has figured this strategy out, apparently, and now their prices are very close to eBay’s, though.
I find a LOT of good stuff left curbside, because I’m out and about so early. Generally, I pick up usable items and either use them myself or take them to the sidewalk exchange at the recycling center. Just picked up a great cabinet yesterday, in fact.
Intaglio, are you from Indiana? Because we have a Once Upon a Child too, and I’ve found the same thing–great to buy from, not so great to sell to. I’m putting our used-baby things together in small lots to sell on ebay, where they seem to go pretty well.

About 6 years ago my wife found me an Eddie Bauer jacket at a thrift store for $15. At the time it was still being sold in the EB stores for $75.

Here is a hint. The thrift stores have to get rid of clothing stuff they can’t sell or isn’t up to par & sometimes they just clear their racks. If you offer to take it away for free, they often let you do that. Then you can go through it & have all these free clothes.
(Sometimes I take what I don’t want from it to another thrift store & drop it off).

BTW you Goodwill shoppers, their best stuff is not really in the stores, its ONLINE:

(Don’t Tell)

Thrift stores, goodwill, resale shops, used book stores garage sales and the curb-side specials are the only way for me.
Ninety percent of my children’s clothing comes from thrift or resale shops. Their play clothes come from garage sales, that way, when they are outgrown or stained beyong bleaching, I can toss them. Everything else is passed on down to other kids in the area.

I have run across more than my fair share of people who turn their noses up at resale/thrift stores. My view on it is, if you want to drop $30 for a shirt at the store, that’s your business. But I have the same one ( or near about) for $2. That leaves me with a butt load of money to blow on my own personal mental heroin: books.

I was at Kohl’s once buying underwear and the woman ahead of me was buying her son (4) his summer clothing. Thankfully my husband was there to witness this, their bill for the summer was $300. That is more than I *have ever spent * on my two kids total. Part of me feels really bad for their ignorance, but the other half of me giggles with glee when I find these barely worn clothes on my clothes hunts.
The way I look at it is that by shopping this way it is more of an adventure and the money I save goes towards things that really matter to me, like staying at home with my children and being a dog butler.

I’ve also taken two van loads of old toys to a resale shop and made more on reselling them - a big $40 - than I would in having the hassle of a garage sale.

Thrift stores and the lot are the ultimate recycling experience.

Handy – thanks for the great link! I gotta sign out now and go cruise that site for a while…

(I’ve been shopping at thrift stores since I was a teenager, mostly for clothes, and, like Otto, I’m a notorious habitue of the dollar store. I once gave a coworker a ride and she asked if the hula girl and hula guy adorning my car were dollar store purchases: I was a little offended, since I’d paid $10 each for them.)

You do score your “mental heroin” at the Goodwill, right? I get tons of books at thrift stores, for $1 or less. You gotta look, and you might have to dig through boxes, but you can find all sorts of books in good shape there.

Current best-sellers with uncracked spines? Yep.
The occasional first edition that someone dumped? Yep.
Gently-read copies of favorites in paperback that you can pass on to friends without worrying about getting them back? Yep.
That out-of-print book you’ve been looking everywhere for? Yep.

Thrift stores are a gold mine for book lovers.