Having spent too much money in the past month, the topic of thrift stores is on my mind. Recently, a friend who just returned from abroad, and I set out to explore thrift stores on the Eastside. Although we have gotten many of our home furnishings from a consignment store, I visit thrift stores less often, so this trip felt like a special adventure. We started at the Kirkland Value Village, based on her assessment that this was the best Value Village around. She assured me that Mondays were the primo days to visit VV and that finding quality items with yellow tags was our goal, as yellow tags meant 50% off. Savvy thrift store shopper that she is, she also knew to bring a donation to the store, because the reward for that was 20% off the total shopping bill. She was buying clothes for herself and her kids and managed to acquire a leather coat as soft as a polishing cloth for about $20. Now that was a bargain. I eyed two plates, one with African animals painted on it and one with a contemporary Japanese design. But both seemed too high-priced at about $18 each. My standard for making this judgment were two items I bought at Goodwill a few years ago: a wooden rooster and a large platter. Admittedly, some readers will conclude that I have no judgment as far as thrift store prices — or any decorating taste either. But I love having a colorful, hand-carved, life-size rooster eyeballing me from my fireplace hearth. And both my finds serve as my guides to assessing thrift store prices, as in, if I can get a life-size rooster for $20 and a colorful platter for $5, those VV plates are too expensive.
After a delicious lunch of Salvadoran pupusas at El Comal, we hit the bargain trail again, this time at the Children’s Hospital Thrift Store. I found three blue blouses there, all in excellent condition, for $27. A true bargain by my rooster/platter standards. There is something thrilling about finding a deal. The biggest advantage is that I can proudly reveal what I paid for each item to my husband, something that doesn’t normally occur after a more traditional shopping expedition.