Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thrift Store Economics

Beyond the bargain prices, thrift stores actually serve a consumer purpose that people do not often think about. They are today’s modern version of five and dime stores of youthful legend.. Except that now the nickels are greenbacks with pictures of Lincoln’s big head, and the dimes are equal to about 10 bucks.

So inflation aside, the point is that the very eclectic nature of the inventory at thrift stores makes them rather unique and special as a retail enterprise. If you go into Neiman Marcus, you will find designer clothes that few sane people will pay full price to own. When you go to your local Target, while the duds are more in our price range, the fact is that the fashions tend to be geared toward twenty somethings. That’s great for about ten years but then where do you shop?

Now mind you that is not a bad thing to specialize your inventory when you are in a retail business. In fact when you want that perfect ruby studded tack for your pet pony, it is nice to be able to go to an equestrian shop rather than to Walgreens. The clerks typically understand what’s ‘IN’ as fashion pony accessories go, and they can help you choose from a wider selection of pony products. Now these thrift store places get their inventory from EVERYWHERE and ANYBODY, so you never know what you are going to get. (If you must, you can impersonate Forest Gump) You will find high end fashion, and low end dust-catchers. But no matter what, there truly is something for everybody and in any price range.

In many cases, if your local thrift store or consignment shop is fairly organized and clean, it can actually be a lot more fun and PRODUCTIVE to shop there rather than the mall. I know the mall smells better with it’s fresh and fruity new fragrances wafting out of every open door. But just think of all the musty ‘moolah’ you are saving. If you look hard enough, you’ll be able to buy 5or 6 very usable items for the price of ONE thing at the mall. Now please don’t blame me if your closets fill up twice as fast because your money goes so much further. Just smile, pack it all up, and GIVE IT TO A THRIFT STORE CHARITY. That way, you can go there next week and buy all of your old stuff again for just pennies on the dollar!


  1. Yayyy for thrift stores. I love them. I love wearing name brand clothing without the name brand price.

  2. I still don't get how anyone can pay $100 for a pair of jeans. (Ok, so I MAY have done that once as a dumb teenager....though it wasn't $100 because that would be like $50,432 in today's money....but you get the gist.)