Monday, July 14, 2008

Saving Green

I love thrift stores, and thrift store shopping. My favorite sections are clothes and books, but I've been known to wander the whole store.

The clothes section is great for kids. We can get a wider variety of clothes for much cheaper than we ever could at a regular store. Given our budget, our kids would probably end up decked out in a whole lot of circo if it weren't for thrift stores. We've found a lot of really great items and some awesome deals over the years. All it takes is careful shopping to make sure you're not getting something that was thrown out for a reason.

There's a thrift store not far from us that has a special on Wednesday - half off all kids' items! SweetPea and the kids went last week with SweetPea's mom. Since MonkeyDo has Horse Camp this week, she was in need of some new long pants. The ones we get her for winter almost never make it through the full school year, between holey knees and growth spurts. Usually by the time the weather warms up, we're thankful we can put her in shorts and be done with it.

SweetPea picked out and had MonkeyDo try on a grand total of 75 pairs of pants and sixtysome shirts. Three at a time (because that's what was allowed in the dressing room). She whittled it down a lot, but still came home with three bags full of clothes.

Because Horse Camp starts today, I had to make sure that they all get into the wash. Which means I spent over half an hour this morning de-tagging everything.

It seems like every thrift store has its own pricing and tagging system. Some, like Goodwill, price based on what the item is (i.e. "women's top", "kids shorts", etc.) and attach a colored plastic tag to the item. Some tag items with little price tags that attach to those plastic loops like in regular stores.

ECO Thrift is one of the thrift stores that staples little chunks of construction paper to the item, and then mark the price on the paper in grease pen. I have no idea who thought this particular idea up, but I would love to smack them upside the head.

First off, how many households have a staple remover lying around? So you're relegating people to either mar the item getting the tag off or use some other tool and hope it works.

As if that weren't enough, they can't just use one staple. Frequently, it's two staples, but I saw configurations that included three crammed together and one separate and multiple instances of two pairs of staples. There was one pair of jeans with two pairs of staples through the store's price tag, and another pair through the jeans' original manufacturer's tag, which still had both of its own attachments keeping it on the pants. A grand total of eight things I had to bust through to be able to get one damn pair of jeans into the wash.

That's crazy!

And that's not even getting into the way household items or books get priced. All too frequently, there is no getting the price off the item.

Like I said, I love shopping and buying at thrift stores, but there has got to be a better way to do this.

I've got today off to take the Monkey to Horse Camp. Hopefully I'll have lots of cool pictures tonight. I guess that depends on whether or not I fall down and die from The Hot. I will actually be breaking out of my box and wearing shorts today, instead of jeans.

Yes, I'm sure it's not actually one of the signs of the apocalypse.

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