Shopping in a thrift store is like going on a
Follow the rules and thrift store shopping can be
very rewarding! It's a different shopping scene than what you'll
find in a department store. Thrift stores operate basically like all
stores, but since each piece of merchandise is unique, you
must be faster, more consistent and more decisive to make the most
of your shopping time.
Thrift store shopping is like a game where you need
to be light on your feet. Here are the rules:
Merchandise changes, sometimes daily, at most thrift
stores, so if you can't find what you need today, it may very well
be there tomorrow! A weekly shopping trip is reasonable and will
yield many finds and bargains. Train yourself to not buy unless it's
really what you want or need, though, or a weekly shopping trip
could turn into a weekly binge.
Shop for quality.
Vintage linens, original recordings, collector's
items, depression glass, brand name quality clothing... they're all
to be found in thrift stores. Know what you're looking at; pay
attention to labels and know the signature details of famous
designers if that's what you're shopping for.
Take your time
Don't go shopping at a thrift store when you're
rushed or not in the mood to pay attention to details. You may have
to go through a 20 foot rack, one item at a time, before you find
that perfect piece - take the challenge and take the time to dig out
Pay attention to size and
fit in clothing
Go with a list of sizes, but be aware: Clothing can
stretch or shrink and may not be the original size; also, some
clothing will be without tags and will have been assigned a size by
estimation. Try it on if you can. Although a practiced second
hand shopper will soon be able to "eye ball" a garment and tell if
it will fit or not, regardless of size tags, unless you're sure you
can do that, try on clothing before you buy.
Most thrift stores do have a return policy, but why
put them and yourself to the trouble of returning items because they
don't fit once you get them home? The exception is that if you're
buying for someone else and they simply cannot get to the store to
try them on.
Merchandise is sold "as is"
While most thrift stores sort and discard worn or
damaged clothing, it's still up to you to be sure it's in acceptable
condition. Check zippers, seams and button holes for damage. If you
really like an item but it's damaged, decide if you can repair it.
Don't take it to the clerk and expect more of a discount - clerks in
thrift stores don't usually have the authority to change prices.
Take it or leave it, the choice is yours.
Ask to try out appliances, games, etc., before buying
them. Take into consideration the age of an appliance and pay
attention to how well it functions and how important that particular
function is to you.
For instance, a hot plate that works great but takes
15 minutes to heat may not be worth your while because of the extra
electricity it will use in heating up. However, if it heats quickly,
but the temperature control doesn't work (it simply gets HOT and
that's it), it's your choice as to whether it would be appropriate
for your purposes. If all you're going to do is boil water and heat
soup, a sensitive temperature control isn't necessary.
Shopping for gifts
Shopping for gifts in a thrift store is fun! Finding
the perfect gift is actually easier than when you shop at a
department store with their narrowly defined fashions and fads. The
variety in a thrift store makes it possible to find the perfect
gift for almost everyone.
Things like ceramics, dishes, jewelry and
collectibles don't look worn (unless they're damaged) and can be a
lot more appropriate than you can find otherwise. You'll sometimes
run across clothing with new tags still attached. You can find
clothing that is of better quality than what is commonly available.
You will find vintage linens, depression glass, classic art,
original recordings and so on for much less than an antique store or
Go often, take your time, enjoy the hunt and enjoy
the thrill of finding exactly what you really want at a price that
Source From: Pat Veretto,Your Guide to Frugal Living.
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