Archive for April, 2011

Forced Thrift Shopping?

Thrift store proponent Sen. Bruce Caswell

Many thrift store fans like me wouldn’t dream of spending their hard-earned cash on new items like clothing and housewares, unless it was an emergency. Why would you?!

Clothing bought at thrift stores typically costs a small fraction of their original suggested retail price. While many items have been previously worn, some still have the tags on them from the original retailer. You would have great difficulty determining which clothes had been purchased at a mall department store and which at a local thrift store – in fact, I get more compliments from my thrift store finds. You can find very fashionable but relatively inexpensive clothing at thrift stores like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and Volunteers of America – some of my faves.

So maybe that’s why Michigan Senator Bruce Caswell decided it would be a good idea to propose requiring children in foster care in his great state to spend their annual $80 clothing allowance at thrift stores. No more new clothes for them!

Fortunately, three days after his initial proposal, Sen. Caswell changed his tune, indicating he is drafting an amendment to his proposal that would involve requiring the Department of Human Services to work out a gift card program with major retailers.

Granted, while I prefer to shop at thrift stores, no one – including me – wants to be told they have to shop at certain stores. It’s demeaning. And, heck, I like thinking some of the stores I shop at are my personal secrets – I don’t need more shoppers competing for the great deals. So while I applaud his recognition that there are bargains to be had inside thrift retailers, demanding that people shop there is just ridiculous.

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Pay pennies for new-to-you clothing and housewares

Imagine being able to buy pricey, but gently used, name brand outfits for your kids from Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister or North Face for a small fraction of what they cost new. You'll even spot furniture, silver and glassware for your home for less than a meal out. Or find something for yourself from Chico’s, J. Jill or Lilly Pulitzer and pay for it with the change from the bottom of your purse. Those are the kinds of deals to be had at thrift shops.

If you get a thrill from finding fabulous deals at thrift shops, consignment stores, and resale outlets, I hope you’ll visit this site often. You’ll pick up proven tips for saving even more on your thrift shop purchases, find the latest thrift shop news and information, learn about items you might not have thought to search for in thrift stores and get a look at photos of my best thrifty bargains.

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