Let's start off on a positive note and talk about these goodies I scored in a freebie pile, shall we? Just know a good ole fashioned thrift store rant is around the bend.
I was running errands and saw a giant pile on the side of the road with a "free" sign. Considering the weekend just ended, I assumed this was yard sale remnants. One thing kicking off in my town of Tacoma is the yard sales in the north end. They are getting REALLY good and you can count on several nearly every weekend in the summer months.
The treasure hunter in me lights up when I see these types of piles, it's just in my nature to get pumped for it. I flipped around and grabbed the giant frame and an amazing wooden salad bowl. When I was about to head home I noticed another pile on the other side of the road with a giant brass light fixture, perfect for my new store. Watch this vid if you don't know what I mean.
I plan to put it in the spa lounge area of the store and already have the approval from my electrician husband that it should install just fine. I used some baking soda paste to give it a good scrub but I still think it could use a shine from an actual brass cleaner to get it back to its former glory. Bulbs will be exposed so it would be cool to put in a decorative vintage one like this one here.
The wooden bowl got a good soapy water soak and laid out to dry. I'm absolutely obsessed with the shape of it and the boho rustic style is exactly what I'm going for at the store. This will likely hold my sage bundles I have for sale or my Slate Apothecary soaps that are packaged so beautifully they'd look adorable stacked inside.
The frame pictured above is HUGE so the plan is to use it in the store to help cover some wall space since the ceilings are so tall, we've got a lot of room to play with.
After my freebie score I went to the Goodwill to find a few more things on a list for the store like a coffee canister, pen holder, frames, and as always- treasures to add to my inventory for sale. I have a video going up this week of the amazing items I found that will be for sale in the store and will update the link to that below when it goes live.
I was heading over to the homeware section and what did my eyes see but none other than the Halloween racks. Gotta admit I got really excited about even a hint of Autumn making an appearance when July literally just ended.
Everything in the vintage section seems to be hoarded and hidden all year long until they whip it out for two months in Aug/Sep/Oct. I'm sorry, but there are vintage lovers out there that would absolutely LOVE to see these things year-round.
All the weird, quirky, 1950's, retro, ruffled, lacey, over-the-top pieces are stashed away until this time of year and it breaks my heart. Plus, I'm low-key insulted they'd consider some of these things as "costumes" when I'd wear most of them any day for any reason because of a little thing known as "vintage style" a lot of folks covet especially your girl here.
Now here's where I want to rant a bit.
I've been saying this ever since Covid shut down the bathrooms and dressing rooms. Getting rid of sinks where we can WASH our HANDS during a pandemic is not the answer at a store where used items are exchanged. In fact, that's the opposite of what should be happening. Why are the bathrooms closed??
Getting rid of the dressing rooms also solves nothing. Being able to try stuff on is the same as getting it home, changing your mind, and returning it. It's the same as the items being sold, to begin with. THEY ARE USED. I think Goodwill took this as an opportunity to get rid of the fitting rooms because A. They never had the staffing to manage it so there's one less problem. B. They likely deal with a lot of theft in the dressing rooms. I just don't think it's enough to take them away altogether. Don't get me started on how Value Village took away the dressing rooms AND the ability to return something. So if you like something and want to buy it, you better pray that sucker fits, or your out $10 or whatever it costs. This infuriates me beyond measures. They say you can exchange it but the window to do it is small and it's kinda hard to get motivated to take back a pair of shorts that cost you $4.99. So you just eat it...or like me, you stick it on the sale rack at your own store.
What these new policies say to me is, "Screw the customer, it's about us". Do you like to grab a coffee before shopping but have to pee 5 minutes in? Too bad, you have to hold it or leave. They also took away the mirrors on the outside of the dressing rooms at a couple of Goodwills and Value Village's around here. The REALLY don't want anyone trying to see if something suits them or not. Don't even hold it against your body in a mirror as you ponder- just buy it, leave, and good luck with that! Doesn't make any sense at all.
Both stores also installed gigantic poles on the carts so they can't be wheeled out to your car. So if you have a bunch of stuff including furniture and small items, you have to juggle them in your arms and hope for the best, or remember to bring your own bag since Goodwill took bags away too. At least VV still supplies bags. I will say, one thing I appreciate about Value Village is they offer self check options.
Being both for- and non-profit receiving items from their community by donation, you'd think they'd give back in any way possible meeting our needs halfway, I'm not even asking for better coupon options I'm literally just asking for a toilet and sink. This is just more proof that these companies do not give ONE shit about us but love to siphon our money into their corporate pockets.
If I had a million I'd create a non-profit that helps shelters (both people and animals) We'd give you bags to leave with your stuff, offer clean dressing rooms, clean bathrooms, and actual customer service that makes you want to return. If I had a million.
What things do you love and hate about these corporate thrift stores? I know a lot of friends of mine don't support these stores for their own reasons.
Being a part-thrift-store owner myself, I find it impossible not to utilize these places to find pieces for my store but, the frustrations are there nonetheless.
Anyway, maybe one day that'd all be fixed and until then, I will go in August every year and shed a small tear for the vintage clothing displayed out of storage for the one time of year they get to be seen.