I have to admit, I am not one for thrift shop shopping. I do go into Good Will occasionally when I need to look for a Halloween costume. I’m more of a thrift shop giver than a thrift shop buyer. There’s a box in the family room right now, filling up with donations as we clean my kids’ rooms to get them ready for a new school year.
My mom, on the other hand, was an excellent bargain hunter. She dragged me and my sister all over the place looking for good deals. Thrift stores weren’t quite as abundant in the rural community where we lived, but we went to yard sales and farm auctions, looking for good deals. At one auction, I remember snow flurries flying around in the crisp autumn air while the auctioneer barked bids out into the crowd. Mom splurged that day and bought us some hot chocolate.
It wasn’t just that Mom wanted a good deal; it was also that we didn’t have much money. She was very thrifty and it seemed like nothing we owned was new. My sister always got the raw end of the deal, because when I did get new clothes and shoes, she always got my hand-me-downs. That’s just the way it was.
And then there was my grandma. She practically brought the thrift store to us. When we were in high school, we had moved up to the suburbs and there were now four children in our family. Grandma would scour the church rummage sale for clothes for us, and since she volunteered at the church, would also bring us all the clothes that didn’t get sold. She would bring garbage bags full of clothes for us to try on. Mom, Grandma, my sister and I would go to the basement to sort though the piles of clothes. They smelled musty and made me sneeze. When I tried on something she thought was nice but I didn’t like it, she would shake her head and lay on the guilt trip. How could I turn up my nose at these perfectly good clothes? It was a question I could answer easily; the kids at school were wearing Guess jeans, and wearing someone else’s castaways was not going to make me popular. Not that I would have been popular any way!
When I turned 16, Mom drove me around to various stores in our suburb to apply for jobs. It was time for me to make money from more than babysitting. A new Pizza Hut was opening up in a strip mall close by, and I became a waitress there. It was ideal job because I could walk to work, and the cooks would make me personal pan pizzas for my break. And now I had money–mostly to save for college–but some money to buy clothes! From the mall! I still couldn’t afford Guess jeans, but my jeans were now not preworn!
What about you? Do you shop at thrift shops or garage sales? Have you found any bargains lately? Share with us in the comments or link up your blog post below!
NEXT WEEK is back to school! I’ve been seeing a lot of first day of school pictures on Facebook. Look for the linky on Monday!