There is a reason that thrift stores, second hand shops and the like used to be called Junk stores. Not everything in the shop deserves to be repurchased. True, as the saying goes “One man’s junk could be another man’s treasure” but that doesn’t mean all junk has potential to be treasured.
Know original prices. Thrift shops are filled with items that originally didn’t cost all that much. Think about it. There are plates from the dollar store that were two for a buck that Goodwill is now charging $1.04 for. There isn’t a dish or a plate in the Goodwill store here that is priced less than a $1.04. The tiniest doll dish is $1.04 and a turkey platter is $1.04. What the hey? You see, they have discovered you will pay that.
Know your brands! They do. Most of the clerks anyway. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to find a single plate like Spode or Johnsonville transferware that is priced at $7.95. But a true treasure hunter knows that there are people marking in the back that miss a brand name or an unusual plate or item that is good quality. You may find a hand painted platter from Italy sold through Williams-Sonoma for $1.04 that was originally $175. You’ve seen those people that find them. They are wearing foolish grins and tripping over themselves getting to the check out.
Buy only what you just can’t live without. If you have been looking forever for an item and it’s staring you in the face, by all means….get it now. Even if the price is jacked up and it’s not perfect. It has been on your list and you may never see another one outside of an antique store where you will pay full book prices. But if something cute catches your eye and you don’t know anything about it, it’s best to pass on it. Too often I have brought home something interesting looking and upon a little research I find out it’s worthless because it’s not rare, collectable or originally expensive. It’s a throw away item.
Buy with a purpose. When you need a plastic monkey and a few zoo animals to decorate a school project, the Goodwill is your store. When you need a new set of everyday dishes, when you need practical items, shop here. This is when the “junk” can be bought for pennies instead of at WalMart where it’s twice the price. But guard against buying for use “someday”. I know, I’ve been there. “Oh these zoo animals are so cute and so cheap! I bet SusieQ can do a school project with them.” No, no a thousand times no. They will only end up out on a table at your next garage sale for a nickle.
Use your smart phone. If you have remembered to bring it! Call your daughter, neighbor, husband before you pick them up something you know they were looking for. Perhaps the need has passed. You can look up brands, marks, colors and such on your phone before you buy. You can check to see what it’s selling for on eBay. You can try it on and send a picture to a trusted one…how does it look? Is it worth $8.37? Ask, ask, ask! Send texts! Do you want a fairy costume? Do you like coffee scented candles? Do you want a flamingo cookie cutter?
You can save a bundle shopping at thrift stores but all too often the impulse shopper in you will emerge with a vengeance and you’ll be hauling in bags of stuff and suddenly feel pangs of regret. Bookmark this article for when you backslide! For you will…oh yes! If you are anything like me!