You cannot begin to imagine how thrilled I was to find that multiple thrift stores exist within half a mile of my dormitory. You see, my mother is an expert bargain hunter and my dad loves to buy shiny electronic doodads. (With a Radio Shack just up Massachusetts Ave. and a Best Buy down it, I suspect I’m poised to follow in his footsteps.)
The genetic result, as you might imagine, is a person with a passion for cheap stuff. I haven’t yet started oohing and aahing at Antiques Roadshow, but the way things are going, it’s only a matter of time.
Perhaps I’ve just been playing too many video games where items of unspeakable value are lying hidden under rocks, inside mundane-looking barrels, and in plain sight. That would help explain my thrift shopping addiction. It would most certainly help explain why I prowl library discard carts in search of “ABCs for Barbarians.”
At any rate, the driving force behind my obsession is easy enough to place: the possibility of finding something unbelievably cool that only costs a week’s supply of Top Ramen. Already I’ve found an Aloha shirt, a brown frock coat, a pair of brand-new suspenders, and a framed cover from a 1976 issue of The New Yorker featuring a Moebius strip. Not exactly buried treasure, necessarily, but it’s enough to make me feel like a proper shopper without decimating my financial resources.
With the profusion of Halloween parties this time of year, the thrift store is a Mecca for those seeking to build a costume up component by component as opposed to all at once. I have nothing against those who have the dedication to do so, but I can’t afford to spend an arm, a leg, and two firstborn children to get the super-official, Collector’s Edition, limited time only, infinitesimally accurate outfit. I freely admit that it would be nice to walk into a costume party wielding a light saber with the expensive kind of plastic in it, but I suppose you get what you pay for.
Of course, I could take the time to make my own clothes if I really wanted to, but the aforementioned video games have only improved my hand-eye coordination to a certain extent. Manipulating a needle and thread safely without platemail gauntlets (which I’d have to get from the thrift store) would add quite a bit of unnecessary worry, to say nothing of learning to operate the mechanized digit-eater, the sewing machine. I’d have people constantly asking me why I decided to adorn my clothes with a red polka-dot pattern along all of the seams, to which I’d have to respond by holding up the bandaged fingers I had left.
I figure I’ll best limit myself to just one dangerous life skill at a time, and trying to survive cooking is all I have room for on my plate right now. Well, that and the very suspicious-looking serving of bacon I tried to prepare, which is an inexplicable shade of turquoise and has probably achieved self-awareness.
Clearly, it’ll be a while before I have time to learn tailoring. Looks like the secondhand stores will be seeing a lot more of me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go hunt down a pair of gunslinger pants, brown leather boots, and perhaps a compression coil catalyzer, if they have one.