Saturday, March 10, 2012

Goodwill Hunting

Okay, I know that's not the most original title.  Probably dozens of junkers have used it in the past.  Still, it fits.  I was at one of the local GW's this week, and it occurred to me, for some reason, that I ought to just do a blog post on the whole experience.  Not really sure why I am thinking this, as it was a pretty typical downtown GW day, but nevertheless here it is.

One thing about this particular Goodwill is its randomness and unpredictability--especially as far as pricing goes.  You can literally go in one day and find everything priced at 50 cents, no matter what it is.  But, if you come back the next day, everything will be 7.99!  Seriously!  I've done this before.  I've bought nice furniture in there for five bucks before, and seen horribly ratty pieces priced at twenty-five!

On this visit, however, I seem to have caught them in the transitional phase. Everything they were placing out at the moment had the outrageous prices, but what was already on the shelves was reasonable.  I'll never understand it, so I go with the flow. 

Late afternoon is always a good time to get to this store, because they start hauling out racks of newly priced stuff to restock the shelves with for the next day.  And they don't care if you grab things right off the rack!  One time, I scooped several MA Hadley plates, cups, and bowls right off the rack!  It was during one of the good pricing phases, and those suckers would not have lasted five minutes at what they were marked.

One of the things I like about thrifting is the people watching.  There is some serious fun to be had if you're at all into taking in the passersby and the drama.  One of the games I like to play is "Who's the Dealer?"  Re-sellers have a particular aura about them in a thrift.  If I can spot a really obvious one, then I try to note all the behaviors they are exhibiting that I don't.

Another good one is "Spot the Hoarder."  "Find the Slumming East-Ender" is also good. She'll be the one who drove her Mercedes over from the ritzy part of town in search of designer duds at a steal of a price, yet she's afraid to actually touch anything in the store.

And then there's "How Much Polyresin?"   Try to guess how much cheap, chipped made in China crap you'll find in the nick nacks section.  But of course, everyone's favorite thrifting game is the one I was there to play myself:  "Find the Treasures."

I didn't see any slummers this time around or any other dealers, but I did spot two I was sure were hoarders, even though one was trying to do it on a budget.  The answer to the polyresin question was the same as it always is:  Too damn much to count!  And, yeah, I found a couple of treasures, including five hardback volumes of a Better Homes and Gardens sewing series from the 60's and 70's.  I also found a Palm Loom!

I have to remind myself when I'm in public sometimes that not everyone shares my sense of humor, and not everyone appreciates a total stranger coming up to them in a thrift store and making smartass remarks.  Oh, but it can be difficult.  There was a woman in the kids clothing holding a pair of jeans that looked to be for a 5 or 6 year old girl.  She was holding them down to the floor, as if she was trying to visualize her own child and where they might come to on her.  It took a bit of willpower to keep from walking over and saying something like "Honey, I think those are going to be a little short for you."  It's times like these I really miss my mother. 

The real fun this time around started in line.  I stayed probably ten minutes longer than I planned, because I was trying to let the line die down a little.  When it became obvious that wasn't going to happen, I jumped in.  I ended up behind the budget hoarder and in front of a woman on her cell phone who loudly exclaimed into her phone:  "I may just leave this shit here!  I only got two things and these fuckers in front of me got carts full of shit!"  I felt like turning around and telling her:  (1) "This fucker in front of you can hear you talking about him. (2) This fucker in front of you is generally polite and would most likely have let you go in front of him with your two items, but won't now because (3) you just called him a fucker!"

Instead, I decided to see if she really would leave her stuff behind, which she didn't.  In the meantime budget hoarder was offloading stuff out of her cart to stay under her limit.  She plopped a whole pile of stuffed animals on the counter and said she wasn't getting those, so I scooped up a couple of myself, resisting the urge to taunt the woman behind me.

Then the woman in front of me said something about the leather bag she wanted to get wasn't in her cart any more.  The cashier said someone probably took it out of her cart when she wasn't looking.  She also said that happens a lot in that store.  So I started thinking about the ton of wicker doll furniture in the other hoarder's cart.  If only I really had the nerve to be that rude.  (Not really.)  It also occurred to me that if there was cart-jacking going on, then there had to be another dealer in the store!

Anyway, the rest of the check out went smoothly.  The cashier is a relatively new one, and I like her a lot.  She's a tad slow, but thorough and friendly.  And she seems to be pretty unflappable.  Nothing really seems to rattle her, not even women screaming about fuckers on their phones.


Shara said...

Something about you using the "f" word has me giggling. I overheard a lady on her cell yesterday say, "You know...I could bury you out in the back yard and NO ONE would ever find you." I am always aware of what comes out of my mouth when I am on my cell - no death threats or F bombs!

I was not a Goodwill fan until I was lucky enough to get a brand new store right up the street that prices things very reasonably.

Hope you have a good junking weekend - Cannot wait for Eddie's Adventures!

Pat said...

Love this post - yes, Goodwill is even better than the airport for people-watching! Especially liked hearing about the F-Bomb woman. It's kind of like people think when they are talking on their cell that there is an invisible soundproof booth around them, don't ya think?

Lots of Goodwills here in Denver and the book pricing is standard but it seems like other things are priced pretty randomly from store to store.