Thursday, December 4, 2008

On Thrifting

(We're closing on the house "today," so I've prepared something in advance. I'll probably be back at least once before the move, then off for several days.)

Welcome to visitors via Derfwad Manor! I think I'm up for Slow-cook Thursday.

buttons_on_plateBack in the day when I made a little bit of mad-money selling feast gear (for SCA & Rennies*), I used to go to thrift stores frequently. I had a whole route that I traveled, looking for wood and (new, food-grade) pewter tableware. (Pictured here: sorting buttons on my miraculous acorn plate, a total random find, which I adore.) That hobby is long over, although I still collect wood and pewter. I still like visiting stores, although I haven't lately (with the move coming up, the more stuff I buy = the more stuff I have to move). When we are all settled, I'm hoping to find some stores to hit on a regular basis.

I used to look at thrift stores with a mixture of dread and horror. Once I finally figured out how cool they can be, I gave them a chance. There are some things I won't buy (socks, underwear, hats), and there are things that I don't bother with (clothes, usually, because of the sizing). However, they can be great sources for things like sweaters to felt and/or unravel, some kitchen ware, etc. One thing I started noticing, though, is how crazy-high some prices are! Even when thrifting, one has to be an alert consumer, because sometimes the prices are better at the regular retail stores.

I really don't get the justification for the high prices I see so often. The product is free. The facilities and utilities are not, nor is some of the staff. But still, I see things that still have the dollar store sticker on them priced at a thrift store for $2-$3. I don't think they understand that if they priced things more reasonably, they'd sell more of the stuff they didn't pay for in the first place: moving more product = higher profit. (It doesn't stop me from trying, but I frequently walk away, shaking my head.)

I'm looking forward to seeking out a new set of thrift stores once we move, and see how my luck fares a couple counties away.

Completely unrelated
I'd love some tips for moving cats!

*SCA = Society for Creative Anachronism; Rennies = Rennaissance Faire folks. SCA more than the other has regular "feasts" where participants have to take their own table setting, and many like to get as close to authentic as possible.


Steph said...

I have moved our cats a number of times - very long moves - and can offer this advice: 1) Move them either very first or very last. Shut them in a room, either at the old house or the new one, while you're moving your stuff. 2) If they have blankies, loveys, or other favorite objects, make sure they have access to them during the move and after. 3) Once you get them to the new house, shut them in one room for most of a day (along with their blankies and toys), if they'll tolerate it. It gives them time to acclimate to the new sounds and smells. 4) If you've already done most of your furniture placement before letting them out of the room, they will stress out less. 5) Providing a new scratching post, cat tree, bed, or other form of furniture/treat/toy may also help. "Yeah, I know you're in a new place - but hey, look at this new fun thing for you to hang out on!" Liberal application of catnip spray will help rouse their interest.

Jess said...

I LOVE thrifting, and totally agree on the price issue. It's come and go, and you either find a terrific deal, or you find something you absolutely adore, and it is ridiculously over-priced. Like you said, dollar store price on the item, and wanted 2 bucks. uuggh, that disturbs me. Seriously! Have a great time finding new thrifting stores. Which ones did you go to out this way?

persephony4 said...

I also had a pile of my dirty clothes that I left in the room with my cat when I moved. When i came to let her out, she had borrowed into the pile happily asleep. When she woke up I promptly picked up the pile now fully used and full of cat hair and put it straight in the washer. She still to this day, 2 years later, loves the jeans and t-shirt that were in that pile and will not leave my side when I wear them.

Mrs. G. said...

Thank you so much for doing Slow Cook, M. Your answers are wonderfully fun!

g said...

Never have moved cats, only dogs!!

As for thrifting - I haven't had great look with clothes - maybe I don't have a good eye. I am always put off by the smell of vintage clothing stores.

I do OK with furniture, though, and pots and plates and things.

Speaking of which - your acorn plate IS divine!!!

Melissa said...

Steph: I'll email you, too, but wanted to thank you here for your comments and tips. We had planned on something similar, but it's good to have validation. I'm NOT looking forward to the 1+ hour drive with 7 cats.

Jess: So glad you found me! I'll email you too. In my current area, I avoid Rescued Treasures like the plague (long story, but they can't ever have any of my money), and hit the SAs on Orchard Lake Road and Perry Street. The one in downtown Pontiac is just too scary and John has asked me to never go there alone. I also hit the Value World/Village and the other one over by the old mall.

persephony4: Thanks for the tips! We've collected some blankets that they like, and I'll try to remember to toss my nightshirt, etc. into the mix.

Mrs. G: Thank YOU! It was a blast!!

g: I do love this plate! I'm plus-size so it's just not worth digging through the smelly racks to find nothing I can wear, but wool sweaters can be felted and then cut up & sewn, and either cotton or wool can be unraveled and the yarn reused. My first stop, however, is always the housewares!