Serious shopping in 'low places'
Last week, my sister and I returned from a trip to The West where we visited family, did a little adventuring (zip lining), and partook in our favorite part of traveling: shopping at thrift stores, junk stores, and “antique” stores.
On one trip a few years ago, it took us three days to get to Colorado … because we stopped in every town, shopped in every thrift and junk store we passed, and took side roads to make sure we didn’t “pass” too many. We called home at the end of the first day to report that we’d traveled about a hundred miles, spent a little over twenty dollars, and had a trunk full of delightful things to share with the family. Most of our children groaned with pleasure at the thoughts of being recipients of such treasures.
On the trip this summer, we tried not to stop too often. After all, some of the family had been in poor health, and it was embarrassing to tell them that we ran out of money before we made it to their house … to check on them. So, we limited the stops to towns who had thrift stores next to Sonic Drive-ins. There were four such towns.
Thrift stores are not just for poor people. They are for smart shoppers who take the time to check out the clothing for items which have been bought by the wrong people, donated to charities, and sold to discriminating buyers. I ought to know about buying the wrong size. I bought several shirts on this trip which had been marked as “large,” but were really either small or extra-large. Most thrift stores and very few garage sales have dressing rooms, so it’s a gamble. However, when you are paying three dollars for a twenty-dollar shirt, you take your chances.
At a garage sale around the corner from my brother’s house, I got a gallon bag of jewelry for three dollars. There were twelve sets of earrings, six necklaces, and numerous other pieces. Also, in the bag was a “new” tube of lipstick, some lotion from a cheap motel, and a brand new Chapstick. We divided the jewelry, and threw away the rest. Some of the jewelry had possibly come as prizes at a local carnival. Some of it was broken some time during the sixties. There were three nice necklaces, several pair of good earrings which had not turned green, and a lovely ring. I oversaw dividing up the plunder, since it was my three dollars. Somehow, I got the good stuff. My sister didn’t want the Chapstick … even though it was new.
The shopping in Santa Fe was different. We looked up “thrift store” on an application called Yelp. It listed the best to the worst. The worst was a “vintage” store where the prices were still very high. Of course, when you can get a silk Hermes scarf for fifty dollars … which would normally be six times that much, that’s probably a good deal. One of the dresses was just two hundred and fifty dollars. Even though there was a nice dressing room, I didn’t try it on. After all, I didn’t have anywhere to wear a long gown beaded in Swarovski crystals.
We did a little shopping in the galleries and high-end shops in Santa Fe where we were followed around closely … (maybe it was that Walmart bag that was sticking out my purse). However, we found four thrift shops where the GOOD STUFF included salt and pepper shakers for my incurably addicted sister and all kinds of name brand slacks and shirts for me. I bought gifts for the grandkids, jewelry for myself, and various other treasures.
We did make it to some historical sites along the way, but the allure of these places was enhanced by the nearness of free parking and the close proximity to a Sonic.