D and I like to go shopping at thrift stores as well as Wal-Mart because we're high class. Sometimes I think that y'all would realllly appreciate pictures of "things people gave away for free... for a reason" posts. What were some of these generous donors thinking? "Oh, I'm sure my collection of empty cookie tubs and plastic knives will net BIG MONEY for the local Salvation Army. And the ripped and soiled sheets? I'm gonna get a thank-you note for them puppies. And my 1958 copy of 'Today's Child' that has obvious mould all over it? That's saleable, too. And now that I am updating my kitchen, I can get rid of the 'Your the Best' plywood shelf that wasn't painted quite all the way and is full of dust and grottiness. Someone else will be buying that at a premium price."
D does a lot of leatherworking and likes to look for cheap leather belts that he can remake into bracelets, or jackets (sometimes marked way down in price because of tears or missing buttons) that he can cut up and use to make things. It's sort of a treasure hunt for him to see how much useful material he can gather in a visit.
The big reason we go, though, is to get out of the house and very occasionally, we find some stuff that is really great. Once D found a bag of Pokemon stuff for $10. If you've ever priced the Pokemon stuff new, you know what a bargain that is if your kids are into that stuff. I also am always on the lookout for more Great Illustrated Classics to add to my collection. I saw some of these at the curriculum fair for $6 each and there's just no way I'm paying that. I just keep trolling the thrift stores and when I find these books, they're usually 50 cents each.
Often we leave with nothing, but we enjoy looking around. Sometimes we see interesting people and other times we wish we hadn't seen interesting people. The poor cashiers have probably seen it all and at the Salvation Army, we've nicknamed some of these helpful and cheery folks "Smiley." They deal with a lot, so probably I shouldn't blame them.
It seems every time we go to the thrift store, that one or more family is letting its kids get totally out of control. More than once, I've seen kids breaking into bags of toys to get the things they want out of them. Then they stuff 'em into other, cheaper bags, leaving the absolutely unsaleable crap. It's stealing, really, but you'd be surprised that kids not much older than Woodjie are doing this and not only that, that these little ones are unattended while Mom's on the other side of the store. I've told cashiers about this before, but I don't think they think it's worth the drama to actually DO something about it.
And it's not unusual, say, if the thrift store is selling toy guns, for several little boys to be running up and down the aisles "shooting" at each other and screaming. Everyone tries to ignore them. But I think the cashiers kinda draw the line when the PARENTS get in on games like this and play "hide and seek" in the old ladies' undergarment aisles and furniture department.
"Please keep YOUR children with you for the safety of other customers and for the safety of YOUR children," intoned Smiley on the loudspeaker after seeing one dad play some sort of football and hide and seek tag game with his five rambunctious children. Poor Smiley. She said this about four times. Finally she hung up the speakerphone and just yelled at one of the kids to go find his dad. The family suddenly decided that it had other things to do that night.
"Awww, Dayyt!" wailed a young teen. "Howcome we don't buy nothin when we come to this store? Tha gun was only two dollar."
"I think 'two dollar' could buy you at least three grammar books here," I think to myself. But I am a very nice, shy sort of person who values keeping all her teeth and so I say nothing. Finally, D and I are done and are ready to check out. Smiley is ready to help us.
"The sign that says, 'No discount on red tags,'" D says to Smiley as he makes casual conversation. "It's rather counterintuitive, is it not? If your sale is on blue and tan tags today, of course there would be no sale on red tags. Are people trying to get some sort of sale on red tags?"
"Ohh, yeah," Smiley tells us. Those "seniors" get a discount every Wednesday and they think they're entitled to money off on the red tag stuff. The sign is there to prove that they are NOT getting a discount on red tagged stuff. They really don't deserve a discount on anything seeing as how it costs so much to keep these old people alive.
"They should be giving US a discount for letting them live so damn long!" Smiley says angrily.
I was just snorting about that line all the way home. This is obviously a place without "secret shoppers" and classes on how to deal with the clientele with finesse. :)