Every now and again my wife and I go to our “crazy Goodwill“. While most Goodwills (a for-profit company that provides training, education and employment for the disabled through their thrift stores) are an adventure, but on a whole the merchandise is useful, well organized and in true thrift store fashion priced ranging from “wow! that’s cheap” to “you want how much for that?!”
Our “crazy Goodwill” is a totally different beast as it is an outlet. If it didn’t sell in any of the retails stores it ends up here. It is is the thrift store of thrift sores. Organization? Yeah, not really, only in the following categories: stuff, clothes/fabric stuff, books/old media stuff. All loaded into big blue bins on wheels. To find what you want, one rummages through the piles of stuff searching for the hidden diamonds of the rough. It is the epitome of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
Every now and then you can come away with some cool stuff. I found a copy of the Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice, 2nd edition from 1979 – that was a little different, and a copy of Dale Dubin’s Rapid Interpretation of EKGs in German – very different. We even found a pair of Bob’s Big Boy Figurines by luck. And yes, that is an ashtray, get over it.
The best thing about going shopping here is the experience. It is surreal. First, the space is intimidating. Large is an understatement. Second, the odor. You know that funny thrift store funk? Add in unwashed humanity, dust, mold and you have a pretty good sense. I imagine it is what the inside of a hoarder’s house smells like. Third, the feeding frenzy. In order to keep the stock fresh they periodically rotate bins on some preset interval. They start pulling the old bins away and folks start to line up next to where the old bins were in anticipation. A crowd will gather, more as each old bin is removed until they start bringing in the new bins. People are jostling, pushing for a place next to the new bins, eagerly vying for the best spots based on what they can see in the bins. But until the entire row of bins is in place it is look, no touching. When the attendant walks away from the last bin, all madness breaks loose. You’ve seen film of piranhas going after hapless prey, or a school of sharks with blood in the water, right? Yeah, like that. People are digging like their lives depend on it, throwing elbows, frantically rummaging like old miners searching for the elusive flecks of gold.
The people , like the stuff run the gamut. The are the eBay hunters, hipster folks trying to get stuff for their stores, bored housewives, hoarders, people buying stuff for their next yard sale and then some. It is amusing. Some walk out with cart load(s) of stuff, so much they have issues loading their cars! It is the consumerist American Dream distilled and crystallized into sharp focus. I’ll admit, there is a rush when you find something cool and it can drive you back for more if you let it. And it’s fun. See you at the bins soon!