I have fourteen thrift stores that I go to on a pretty regular basis. Some more than others because they are closer to me. My absolute favorite thrift store, hands down is what I call the Super Cheap Thrift. That's not it's actual name, but that's what I have always called it. I have been shopping there for about 20 years - it used to be in a small little building up then it moved to a nice big store. Well, big for it - not Goodwill huge. An interesting fact about this area is that we have a locally owned phone company that only services the three local small towns around me. This is a family owned telephone company that has been in business over 100 years. The support their local community and have donated the building and pay the utilities for this thrift store. So, since it is all volunteer based from people at a local church and all the costs are paid - they can still sell clothing for 25¢-$2.00, housewares for 50¢, etc.
Half of the building is the thrift, and the other half is a place where you can ask for assistance with utility bills, get groceries and get vouchers for shopping at the thrift store. When you qualify for a voucher, they bring it right over and file it so the person can shop right then. Also, they are given a credit on the voucher for say, $20.00 and they can buy whatever they need. Clothes, housewares, Christmas for their kids - whatever that person feels they need at the moment. I love that about this store. I was at the Salvation Army many times when people came in with vouchers and they treated the people horribly. Said they couldn't use their vouchers because it was too late in the day, told a lady she could not use a voucher to buy a matching skirt and blazer. Only single items. She was in tears because she had a job interview and wanted to look her very best. But, no. She couldn't buy the matching suit. She was trying to get out of the hole she was in by getting a good job. Why couldn't they help her? Another time a lady had three pairs of underpants for her daughter and they said that she could only have two. She started crying, "How can I do laundry and keep two pairs clean for her for school?" People should be able to decide what they need for the situation they are in at that moment.
When I go to the SCT, I buy a lot of stuff. But, I never buy anything that I think someone could really use - I don't buy clothes, new kitchen items, curtains, blankets, kids clothes or anything that I feel a family would really need. I buy vintage this and that and things I can spiff up. No one says I can't buy stuff, the store is usually packed with the usual flea market crowd - that is just my self imposed rule. I do break it sometimes - I bought an old letter jacket last summer. But, it was summer and most people want a nice newer coat to actually wear. A lady that works there told me last week that she she loved to see what I bought - it's things no one else would buy - but it's all just so cool! That made me feel good. I'm not taking away from anyone that really needs it plus I am contributing money to help with their other services.
Today as I was starting to pay for my purchases (five grocery bags full of fabric scraps, a book, some bronze baby shoes and a framed picture) the man ahead of me was asking for his voucher. Apparently it had been used already and he didn't have any money on him. He went outside to dig in his car and he came in with only four pennies. He was trying to buy a yellow polo shirt for 75¢ to wear to work. I immediately said to put his shirt on my tab. But the ladies behind the counter told him to take the shirt. People had been paying extra all day and they had a good overflow of change to pay for it. They were all so nice and genuine about hing needing and and taking it. I don't know of many thrift stores where people willingly say "Keep the change" (I always do) or pay more than things are priced. They know it's for a good cause and it's run by good thoughtful people.
I really hadn't realized how special this thrift was to me until today when everyone was so willing to help that man get his yellow shirt. Don't get me wrong - I have scored some good junk at this thrift and made some decent money on a few things. But, I don't feel bad about it since the things I bought weren't really necessities. And, twice, I bought things that I thought were just cool and they turned out to be money makers. Surprise for me!
One other reason this thrift is special to me is several years ago, I stopped a week after Christmas to shop. I found a gorgeous Wilendur rose tablecloth with matching napkins. It was priced $10.00, which is crazy high for this thrift. But, I loved it and decided to splurge on it for my collection. When I stepped up to pay, my total was $22.50. But, then a man behind me said, "I'll pay for that." And he did. Turns out, he paid for every person that went through the line that day until he hit $500.00. He really brightened my day when he did that and I always think of him when I see that beautiful tablecloth.
So this is sort of a long winded post without photos, but I had it on my mind and thought I would type it out. I really would like to know if you have a favorite thrift for reasons other than what good junk you find there. Sometimes the experience is as important as the junk.