By: Miranda Babbitt
In dark, forgotten corners of the city, often teeming with crime and deceit, lay hidden avenues bustling with long-lost surprises. Thrift stores.
Now if you have ever considered venturing into this dangerous pocket of society, be prepared. The trip there will likely test your ingenuity, courage and possibly your agility as you overcome the winding bus routes and horrors of public transit. Ideally, you will have at least five different weapons on you, including, ideally, a bow and arrow. The bow and arrow will catch your opponents by surprise and your “street cred” will inevitably skyrocket.
Once you enter your thrift store of choice, do not make eye contact with the employees. You will only be met with judgment. Who cares about your shallow desire to have a “distressed flannel shirt” or “unintentionally but intentionally ripped 90’s mom jeans?”
Not them. You are stealing clothes from the needy and all you care about is replicating the latest tumblr selfie you saw. You also must haggle for everything. The more you haggle, the more respect you’ll receive. Oh, its only $2? Even better. Maybe you can get it for free and hit up that Starbucks on the way home.
After making it through the first three paragraphs, have you managed to weed out the lies about the so-called “reality” of thrift store shopping? Please say yes. I’m depending on you here. I need to restore some of my faith in humanity. My buddy ol’ pal, Google, has enlightened me on the popular misconceptions people have about thrift stores. There appear to be two kinds of people: those who appreciate a good thrifting find, and those who will greet you with a look of pained pity. To them, finding out my sweater was thrifted is akin to saying, “I am wearing the sweater of the homeless alcoholic who roams the local McDonalds.”
Dollars and Sense
Now just in case some of these hilariously awful myths have become a reality for you, I am here to set you straight on the path of thrifty goodness. For those who have been dipping their head in and out of the current fashion trends as of late, thrift store pieces can often be on par with the designer goodies we’re all lusting after anyway. Some people find a lot of pride in saying “Oh this? It’s thrifted,” maybe accompanied by a casual toss of the hair, or an oh-so-humble laugh. Thrifting is not considered an embarrassment. In a way, it’s a considerably noble triumph if you managed to snag an Isabel Marant cardigan for the price of a pair of socks.
Charity Begins At Home(town Thriftstores)
Secondly, the idea that you’re stealing the clothes of someone in more need than you is ludicrous. Thrift stores do not operate in the same way as soup kitchens. Unlike soup kitchens that can only afford to offer so much, thrift stores channel their profits to various charities. The more money these stores bring in, the better off these charities will be. Though this is not to say you should bear ignorance to those who are more in need than you. If a young woman is eying the almost illegally cheap jacket in your hands, while balancing two babies in her arms with a sparse bag of groceries behind her, then back away from the article immediately. You’re a thrifty person, not a piglet stealing every good deal in the city.
Thirdly, (and oh-my-goodness-who-came-up-with-this): haggling is not necessarily encouraged. Sometimes in order to get the best bang for your buck, haggling can be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience, but not to the point where you’re arguing over a $5 sweater with a line of pissed-off hipsters behind you. Trust me, they will ironically mock you until you cry. Preserve your dignity, and haggle very sparingly.
Tips to make the most of your second-hand sojourn
- Bring a friend. As convinced as you are that those authentic shoulder pads make you look edgy rather than legitimately violent… you’re wrong. Only a friend will break that to you.
- Wash before wearing. Believe it or not, thrift stores are a business, not an intentional breeding ground for disease. The employees do in fact wash the clothes. That said, there is no pain in having a little safety-first attitude and wash them before you wear ‘em. Unidentified rashes are never in style. Amiright ladies?
- Get over the classic thrift store stench. As shocking as it may be, all humans don’t come pre-made with a manufactured Febreze smell. When we wear things, they smell like us. But now imagine that you, your best friend, that fellow you stare at in Wednesday’s lecture, your uncle once removed, and Kim Jong-Un all combine to create a unique smell. Putting aside any weird imagery that may have formed just now, it’s very possible that the combined smell would be more… strange… then pleasing. The thrift store stench should be a guarantee to you that there has been no robotic apocalypse and that humans still wear clothes.