Every time I drive by one of the local Salvation Army stores I see the sign that says, "Enjoy the thrill of the hunt". And that my dear friends, is what I do. Perhaps that is what I do best. Couldn't there be a career in professional thrift shopping? I would do well in that industry simply because I love the "hunt".
I don't know exactly when this passion started but it was certainly in my childhood. My first memories of adoring other peoples junk is that of garage sales. One memory in particular, takes place in a suburb in the SW, not sure which one, but somehow I recall it being in the SW, and I found a lovely rock family. It was a large grey stone the size of my fist, with many small painted stones glued on top. The small stones had faces painted on them. I was in love. I also clearly remember having to use the neighbor's bathroom because I couldn't "hold it". That was a nice random thought for you.
Other memories include the trips to the consignment store with my mom. I am not sure if that was something she did my whole childhood, but I remember going when I was in about grade 4. I thought consignment shops were so neat. I always picked out the weirdest clothes. Maybe I have always had bad taste. But I adored each and every unique item. I told my friends about these neat consignment stores and one friend even confided in me that her parents took her to Value Village. She told me I would love it. I brought this idea up to my mother but she was disgusted. Apparently Value Village lacked some sort of class which my mother must have required in a 2nd hand store.
In the 8th grade I decided I would like to wear my Dad's old plaid shirts. This was back in the Nirvana days of course. And I was also a little obsessed with wearing "Old Man Pants" (OMP). Those were my absolute favorite. Nothing like a pair of baggy baby blue polyester man pants with a big butt. So of course to find such things I went to Value Village. I was in heaven in such a store. I wondered why my mother had never taken us to this haven of bizarre clothing. I loved finding retro ring tee's, old striped ski sweaters, anything vintage, and of course the OMP. I often took the c-train there either by myself or with a friend. My mom did take me on occasion if I begged her well enough. That was always tough though. My mom and sister wouldn't even want to come in. It was like they would be embarrassed being seen in a store like that. My sister claimed many times that the store "stunk". Maybe it did, or maybe the smell has grown on me because I have never noticed.
By high school I was still a regular at the thrift stores. I loved finding old retro mugs. I started a collection. I loved bright colorful glass objects. I loved finding vintage materials. And still a fan of the OMP of course. My friends in high school also loved these thrift store adventures. We'd all pack on the c-train and try to find the precious gems upon arrival.
Shortly after I graduated high school, a Good Will store opened up just down the street from my house. As great as it was, I never actually found much there. Mind you, since having Stinx I have found some nice sleepers on occasion while visiting with Bugma. Anyways, I lived in Winnipeg for 4 months one summer while doing my practicum for school. When I looked Value Village up in the Winnipeg phone book I was in awe. They had something like 5 VV's. At that point Calgary only had 2 (now there are 3). And I actually made it a goal to see all 5 of them. Winnipeg's VV's were so awesome and they had many other thrift shops too. I found the greatest stuff there. I only lived there for 4 months but I had to do a purge by the end because I had collected soooo much stuff. And actually while living there I found this sweet pin in Osborne Village that read "Thrift Store Junkie". I wore it proudly, because I'm a nerd.
After moving back to Calgary Dad and I got hitched the following summer. Two of our friends, Dusty and Ace, were also thrift-shop-aholics. Ace and I came up with this amazing idea to go to ALL of the cities thrift stores in one day. We called it the "Thrift-Shop-A-Tron". It was a crazy idea. I looked up all of the thrift stores and got an idea of where they were in location. I figured we would have to go on a Saturday. Sadly this idea never panned out completely. However, Dusty and I did do a mini-version of the Thrift-Shop-A-Tron. We did something like 13 or 14 stores in one day. It was a blast.
Since being married I have still been a regular at the thrift stores, especially in the neighborhood we've been in for the past 5 years. There are tons of thrift shops around. There are some that specialize in furniture or kids clothes. I most often visit the Good Will simply because I live so close to it. I also try to go to the VV fairly regularly. I have found lots of great stuff for Stinx. Lots of great clothes, toys and my favorite thing to find for him, books. Dad isn't into it though. He never really has been though. I mean, when we first started dating he was sorta into it, but now, he's too much of a "suit" to like 2nd hand stuff, especially clothing.
It must be the thrill of the hunt that is so addicting. Because thrift shopping can be addictive. I actually find it very relaxing and peaceful. It's like my therapy. I admit though, since having Stinx I don't go as often. It used to be every few days but now, hmmm, I am not even sure how often I go. And that's good I suppose. The shelter I work for has their own little thrift shop - except that everything is free. It's a really great resource for the homeless or low income individuals. And, no, I have never taken advantage of it :P
Other than thrift shops I love going to auctions, garage sales and finding 2nd hand items on-line. Sites like http://www.kijiji.ca/ are very addictive for me. People are just constantly posting their stuff. I have found tons of great baby and toddler items on there. Some of which include, a bumbo, a rain forest jumperoo, his high chair, booster seat, his Bjorn potty, Stonz boots, cloth diapers, books, clothing. The list is endless actually. Some of that stuff I would have never bought him brand new. Because its second hand it is much more affordable.
So this brings me to my challenge....