Wednesday, January 18, 2012

thrifting 101

I learned a hard lesson about thrifting last week. But before recounting the learning of my lesson, let me start by explaining my relationship with the local Goodwill thrift store. Shopping for some is done only under duress, causing anxiety, boredom, or frustration. Not so for me. Many a bad day have been cured for me through a rigorous session of retail therapy. Our current operational budget does not really leave a lot of room for recreational retail, however, and more often than not I find myself browsing our local Goodwill store and simply enjoying the thrill of a unique find - even if I don't buy it. It also helps that our Goodwill store is always chock full of great high-end items and unique treasures, rather than just a lot of junk like some other stores. Maybe I'll compile a post to showcase a few of the items I have scored on the cheap to share later...

So, last week I was wandering up and down the aisles during my 30 minute kiddo-free therapy session when I noticed this really cute, vintage 70's era spun fiberglass patio set.

 And I thought, "Ooooh, that has potential!". The price tag said $49.95. It didn't have a glass top, and the cushions could stand be recovered, but my instincts told me it was still a good deal. I sat in one of the chairs. Comfy and solid. I inspected the fiberglass. Perfect, aside from some dirt, but nothing a good pressure wash couldn't remove. I contemplated. What would the hubs say if I brought this funky number home? Would he think it was worth fifty bucks? To make an unecessarily long story short, I didn't pull the trigger. I hemmed and hawed, then went to pick up Cason Jett from my mom's house because it was getting close to nap time. But when I got home, I did a little research...
I found this similar set on Craiglist.... for $499!!!

And this set on for  $249!!!

And then another here... for $495!!!

Needless to say, I was regretting my decision. I knew that my mom was heading out to run errands, so I quickly called her to see if she could swing by the Goodwill and buy the set for me. She agreed to, and I sat waiting in anticipation of my new-found treasure! I hopped onto CL to see if I could find a piece of glass for the top, which I did,  for a mere $20...

And then onto to look at options for recovering the seats. Something like this would be cute, right?

I was totally excited! Thoughts of summertime cocktails shared on our new retro-cool front patio with friends filled my head. And then, the phone call from my mom came. In the 30 minutes since I had left the Goodwill, some lucky shopper had scored my vintage patio set. I was so bummed. I sat there day dreaming about that set for a good 2 hours before I came to terms with my misfortune. 

So! The lesson is: if you see something at a thrift store and your gut tells you to buy it, BUY IT. The beauty and the beast of thrifting is the one-of-a-kind nature of the merchandise. Sigh! Lesson learned. 

How about you? Have you ever seen something while thrifting, left, then gone back only to find an empty spot on the shelf? I'd love to know I'm not alone! :-)


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