What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Super Cheap Thrift Gone Wrong

I love my Super Cheap Thrift.  It actually has a name, but I won't use it here today.  I'm sort of upset with my favorite thrift.  Well, maybe not the thrift itself, but the Saturday crew. 

Saturday The Bean and I were on the way to my Grandmother's house, so we stopped by the SCT.  I am not a big fan of the Saturday crew anyway.  The lady that runs the check out knows me from years ago when I was about to accept a job and decided not to take it after all.  I used the excuse of "needing more time for my ebay sales" to not accept the job.  Back then, I was selling 25 or more items a week and making more than this little pitance of a job was going to pay.  I decided that I could stay home, sell on ebay and still have more free time than I would doing this job, which required me to be in my car using gas driving from one home to another and visiting different families - some with unknown family histories.  I really just decided that the job didn't sound safe or fun for me.  So, I declined the position.  This particular lady at the thrift was the one I told "no."  So, she always remembers that.  Whenever I buy anything, she loudly says, "I SEE YOU ARE STILL SELLING ON EBAY."  And, yes, I am, but I buy a lot more for us that I do for ebay at that thrift.  That's where I get some of my favorite old stuff ( like that precious aqua planter in the previous post).  But, in her eyes, every item I purchase will be resold for thousands of dollars.  Oh, how I wish that was true.

So, whenever she is there, I get this attitude about my purchases.  And, it really bothers me.  I buy what they sell, I pay the price they have it priced, (it's not my fault they still sell things for 15¢!) and I pay cash (they hand out vouchers to people in financial distress and they can buy whatever they want or need).  She always has to say, "Oh, this is ooooooold."  or "Oh, this is worth a lot of money."  The funniest part about that is that she is usually holding something that is not a) old or b) worth a lot of money.

Before I went to pay, the lady in charge of the whole thrift was telling me how they had to clear out a lot of merchandise to make room for all the Christmas merchandise.  "We have so much!" she said.  (I tried not to slobber or beg to look in the backroom)  They already had boxes of Christmas items stuck under the clothing racks and people had been looking through them.  In one box, I spotted a huge wreath with the 12 days of Christmas figures all made out of felt and sequins - sort of a Bucilla craft thing- and it was super cool.  I asked another volunteer how much it was and she took it to the back for a price.  When she returned she was empty handed.  "That is CHRISTMAS"  It is not for sale yet."  Uh, helloooo, I was just told that you did not have room for all the Christmas and here I stand wiling to pay to one huge item and remove it from the store.  Striiiiike one.

(I am making a short story very long today - sorry).  When we went to pay, it was 1:45 and the store closes at 2:00.  We were the last two customers checking out.  And, there stands the lady that I do not like.  Great.  Striiiike two.  That's when The Bean discovered a big box of keychains.  He has a huge collection of key chains and always looks for interesting ones to add to his collection.  There were a ton of key chains in this box and they were marked 25¢ each.  He started digging in them, trying to pick out a few good ones.  But he liked a lot of them, so he was really picking through them.  As he was looking through them, the lady that is in charge of the entire Thrift Store, walked by and told him he could have them for 10¢ each, so pick out all the ones you want.  That perturbed the lady that I don't like.  Grrrr.  She didn't want us to get a better price and she didn't want to stand there while he picked through them.  She proceeded to tap her foot and drum her fingers on the counter while sighing loudly.  "Ohhhhhhh!"  Puh-leeze.  Finally she reached over and snatched the box out from under him and said, "Let me count them and I will name a price."  That surprised me, but she wanted out of there.  It still wasn't 2:00 yet, so I wasn't concerned about leaving. 

She counted them out, slowly and making errors in her counting skills.  She finally had piles of sixteen 20's and seventeen 20's and a pile of 16 - which I had no idea what that meant.  I went out to grab a check since I had spent all my cash.  When I came back in, I had the check made out except for the amount.  I had the pen right there on the line where you write in the amount and I heard her say how much, but I didn't realize how much she was saying until I wrote the amount down.  $35.00.  Holy batcrap.  That ain't cheap! 

But, the check was written.  And, it was 2:00.  And, she was giving me the speech about how much money I was going to make on all those key chains.  (I had already told her over and over and over they were for The Bean's collection.  (She was still drumming those fingers and giving me a look.)  To be blunt - she was pissing me off.  *Sigh.

So, what could I do?  I picked up the box of $35.00 key chains and left as she quickly locked the door behind us.  I feel like I got bamboozled into spending serious cash.  I know I could have said, "No", but I really love that thrift store and didn't want a bad reputation in there.  She already seems to think I am robbing them. 

Oh well, what's done is done.  The whole episode just gave me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. 

Anyone need some keychains?

*For the record, there are about 50 different an unique ones in there from around the world and that do things (flashlights, tape measures, etc.) and those are the ones that he likes to find.  The rest are pretty much FREEBIE ones from Realtors, banks and such.  There are about twenty with the name BRUCE on them.  Any Bruce's out there?

PS.  Please do not EVER tell The Breadman that I squandered $35.00 on key chains.  Ack!

PPS.  The lady at the thrift (the nice one) told me that the man (Bruce) collected them and when he got married, his wife said he had to get rid of them.  And, he did!  Meanie old wife anyway.  Booooo.

*I wanted to add, after reading comments, that no one knows I resell.  And, really, I buy a lot more to keep, give away, swap and gift than I do to resell.  She is the only one that knows it.  I spent $10.00 on a huge bag of other itmes that same day and only the little fuzzy deer is for resell.  She just likes to make a fuss over it.  The SCT shall always remain my very favorite thrift store.  Everyone else is sweet and helpful.  She's just a pain!


  1. I feel your pain sister, I feel your pain. And I'm glad you finally admitted that the name of that store wasn't actually Super Cheap Thrift because after reading about all the good stuff you constantly find there I was about ready to google it, Mapquest directions, and take a drive (yes, I do live in Mississippi, but still). I admire you for not spitting in that woman's face.

  2. I think this is why those people who are resellers are secretive about it. And I can see why!

    I hate feeling like I have overpaid though. Ack.

  3. What a miserable woman! What I'd call a jobsworth. So what if you were selling on every item? It REALLY has NOTHING to do with her. I'm afraid I'd have a word with the manager about her obnoxious behaviour :o(
    I used to sell occasionally at antique and collectors fairs in the UK, and you cannot believe some of the comments I used to get off the 'regulars' there. As if I were taking the crust from their mouths. I'd paid exactly the same as them for the stall, and I'd purchased my own stock too. Teflon shoulders is what you need, just let it all 'slide off'!
    Best wishes, and many more bargains!
    Rose H

  4. My daddy's is Bruce does that count?

  5. I'm sure we all have an "Oh, did I really just pay that much?" story we could share.For my part, there is more than one.I had to teach my kids to very quietly (or preferably not until we were safely in the car) ask me, "Mom is that a treasure for (here they usually pause for dramatic effect and look over their shoulders) Ebay?"Well actually they don't say Ebay anymore - now it's for a show but you get the picture.I also have obnoxious neighbors who when they see me picking up their new junk at yard sales, ask me how much I'll make on Ebay with it."Um, nothing."Because I can not/will not sell your brand new, Made In China, and I got it at Walmart item there.Fools.Ooh see - you've got me on one of my rants.Just remember - you are not alone and those of us that get it - REALLY get it.And yes, you did have to stay nice enough that they will let you back.You can (and should) however, think not such things about how much you hate the place even as you are forced to shop there because there are treasures waiting to be discovered.Soldier on junque friend!

  6. Verrry few people know that I sell on Ebay, because lots of people think that anything I buy at garage sales or that they give me, I'm going to resell!
    That bitter, bitter woman sounds jealous to me. If I were you, I think I would have biffed her upside her head for ripping that box out of The Bean's hands. Try to ignore her, so that you can keep shopping there, because you find some really great things there!

  7. I can see where that would get your goat: what thoroughly unprofessional behaviour on her part! It would have taken me aback as well when she stated the price, and I probably would have auto-paid as well. Once they price it, what business is it of theirs who buys it, or to what end? I suppose in your relationship with the SCT, as in even the best relationships, one must expect a few lovers' quarrels...

  8. she is just a crabby appleton and someone needs to hit her on the head with a $35 box of keychains. :)-

  9. Now what is the big yank for that woman? She could sell on ebay if she wanted. I have a problem with people like her she calls herself a good person for woking in the thrift store but really she is not a very good person because of how she treats people and you can be you are not the only one to get that treatment.

  10. You are a better person then I. Really I think I would have to say something about her attitude. It's none of her business what you do with anything you buy there. Grrrr...I hate to overpay!! Wait I hate to be OVERCHARGED!

  11. Wow, what a rude person. Why don't you just tell her "oh, I forgot to tell you, the Breadman got a huge promotion and I don't have to sell on ebay anymore. Besides they have raised the fees so much it's just not worth it." I don't tell many people that I sell - it just seems like not a good idea. Am glad you could rant to us but guess the best advice is to just not let it get to you. I hope the Bean likes his key rings! You're such a great Mom to let him have some collections, too!

  12. Anonymous9:38 AM

    UGH, I hate when someone else ruins your thrifting mojo! It is just not fair that the person doing it works there! You had more patients that anyone I know. You can give yourself a pat on the back for that!!!

  13. Ugh... the nerve of some people. Try to avoid Saturdays at the SCT. Or as the saying goes "Kill her with kindness"


  14. We all have a similar story. Yes it gets us mad, but what are you going to do. Just take a deep breath and count to ten. Okay. Feel better? Have a good day.

  15. Shara, her behavior is appalling on so many levels. First is just the over all general lack of customer service skills. If she's that rude to you, how is she treating other people? She could actually be costing the place business. And it's none of her business if you sell the stuff you get from them, donate it somewhere else, burn it or feed it to the cows. Once you pay for it, it's her property. Then, there's the way she treated your child in front of you. I would have never stood for that. I would have said "No. Either he chooses what he wants or we're not buying anything." She basically bullied you into spending more money than you intended on things you didn't want. That's the most appalling bit of all. I would write a letter to the manager of the store (or better yet the agency that operates it and benefits from it) and tell them what happened and about her behavior. There's no call for her actions under any circumstances.

  16. PocketChange11:16 PM

    Shara, sounds like some of the crabby volunteers at my favorite thrift on Wednesdays! They always put out the "No More Donations" within one hour of opening so they don't have to have a lot of sorting to do the rest of their day; AND, they always announce the store is closing a whole half-hour before it does, AND THEN, they announce anyone at the cash register gets charged DOUBLE if it's after 2:00pm (even one minute)......uhm, I think they're joking, but they don't always announce it with a smile.

    Anyway, I think I would have called that volunteer on her pricing (don't know if you could change her attitude right then and there). You already got a price from the store manager for $.10/key chain, right? How can she charge you a different price? And if I did my math correctly, you would have paid $5.00 for the 'good' 50 key chains at $.10/key chain? And you paid $35.00?!!! YIKES! That's a 600% overcharge, isn't it? How many total key chains did you get? (Don't remember if you got more items, but you didn't get THAT many more other items, did you?). I would DEFINITELY go to the store manager, and tell the WHOLE story (including her rude behavior towards a child, and his loyal, returning customer mother)! Yes, what you do with the items you buy there is NONE of her business. You pay the price they set. I would definitely try to avoid that cashier (can you go to another volunteer and plead 'the line's too long, here's my exact change?' which has worked for me).

    I would encourage you to talk to the store manager! She's the one who wants to keep you happy and returning, she's the one who values your patronage, she's the one who can 'make it up to you' for pricing on other items during the next month, she's the one who can sell you the 12 Days of Christmas wreath early, and she's the one who should talk to the crabby, nosy volunteer!

    You spend too much of your time and money in that store on a regular basis to be treated that way. Thrift store shoppers in the USA let's unite behind Shara..... you go, girl!

  17. This whole story is just wrong- but on a par with some of the crabs that work at the thrifts here.
    I think some of the other commenters had good suggestions. I only have one - The Bean is going to have to change his name to Bruce... :)

  18. Shara, I ahd a similarsituation at a vintage jewelry store. The formerly friendly owner turned on me as soon as she found oout I rented a space at an antique shop, in another neighborhood. In her crazy mind, I was the enemy, the competition, even though I sold mostly linens and furniture. One day she blew up at me in front of a picker that I was not buying, but "pricing"! Really?!
    From then on I found out that she had done that ot others. She's still barely in business.

    So, as Pocket Change posted, talk to the manager of SCT and let her know about it. If she's rude to you, she's probably rude to other customers.
    Bad apples are bad for business.

  19. there is a NEW goodwill in the next town over, little richy-rich town! i can't wait! i am making myself wait to go until tomorrow but i am going to be there when they open at 10!

    i knew only you could understand my unbearable giddiness as i dream about going to a "virgin" thrift shop that just opened today! i'm all a gaga!


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